Nicole, Diagnosed with neuroblastoma

After Nicole’s second operation, using unique gene therapy technologies, Texas Children’s Cancer Center developed a vaccine for Nicole made from cells doctors removed from her body. With a series of injections, Nicole and her family have hope that if her disease returns, her body will be prepared to fight it.

There was a time when Nicole shyly held back from conversation, but those days are gone.

“She’s just so grown up,” said Nicole’s mom, Laurie. “She’s very straightforward, and she loves to talk.”

Already eager to start school, Nicole fills her time for now by riding her bike and watching TV cooking shows. Soon, she tells her mom, she’ll be creating the same dishes she sees on TV. Nicole’s tastes tend to run on the mature side. Given her choice, she’ll opt for Chinese food, fettuccine with garlic sauce or shrimp.

Her zest for living is especially evident when she attends her big brother’s football games with her parents and baby sister, Leslie. Once there, she transforms herself into a one-girl cheerleading squad. Nicole’s 10-year-old brother, Michael, relishes every cheer. He knows coming to his games is a major victory for Nicole, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

Nicole has undergone two operations to remove cancerous tissue from her abdomen, and has also received radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

After Nicole’s second operation, using unique gene therapy technologies, Texas Children’s Cancer Center developed a vaccine for Nicole made from cells doctors removed from her body. With a series of injections, Nicole and her family have hope that if her disease returns, her body will be prepared to fight it successfully. For now, her doctors are carefully monitoring her condition with regular examinations, along with bone marrow aspirations every three months.

“The doctors at Texas Children’s were wonderful … wonderful. They got on the ball from day one and did what they had to do.” – Laurie, mother.