New hope for childhood cancer treatment

Upsala Nya Tidning reported this week that common painkillers might be used in the battle against childhood cancer.

Researchers at the Childhood cancer research unit at the Karolinska Institute and the University of Tromsö, Norway have found that ordinary painkillers such as Voltaren and Celebra could inhibit the growth of so-called neuroblastoma in children. Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer that occurs only in infants and children up to the age of around 10. The cells of this cancer usually resemble very primitive developing nerve cells found in an embryo or foetus.

The findings were published last week in the leading cancer journal Cancer Research. It is thought that the painkillers inhibit the growth of the “Cox 2” enzyme that has been found in tumours and cultured cells, as well as the spread of neuroblastoma tumours.

“We hope that we can now initiate a Europe-wide study where some of these medications are used as additional treatment for children with neuroblastoma,” commented John Inge Johnsen, one of the researchers behind the discovery.

“At first we didn’t quite believe it ourselves,” said Per Kogner, childhood cancer researcher at Karolinska Institute to TV4. “But we could prove that it was the case and we managed to make the tumours stop growing completely thanks to a gentle treatment.”

Speaking to Aftonbladet he even predicted that children can be cured from this form of cancer within three years.

Sources: Upsala Nya Tidning, Medline Plus, Aftonbladet, TV4

Lysanne Sizoo

Lysanne Sizoo is a certified Counsellor, specialising in bereavement, fertility and cultural assimilation issues. She also runs a support and discussion group for English speaking women. You can contact her on [email protected], or 08 717 3769. More information on