Researchers Getting Promising Results From Studying Tyler Trent's Cancer Cells


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Even though he's not here to see it himself, Tyler Trent's battle against cancer lives on, and the promising work by researchers would make the inspiring former Purdue student happy.

Thanks to donated cancer cells from Tyler, researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have found a promising therapy that is significantly lowering tumor growth in models built with Trent's cells.

Trent died Jan. 1, 2019 after fighting an aggressive form of bone cancer, but became something of a national hero for his bravery in fighting the disease and his desire to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research so others wouldn't have to go through what he did.

According to a report by WTHR in Indianapolis, by looking at Trent's cancer cells, researchers were able to find a variation that is found in tumors that recur. They then tested two different drugs, a Chk1 inhibitor and a bromodomain inhibitor. By themselves they stopped the tumors from growing some.

Using a combination of two drugs, the growth of the tumors was blocked "substantially." The team also found that the combination therapy would be tolerable for a patient.

The researchers’ next steps include find a better understanding on how the tumors adapt to the treatments and optimizing the combination therapy.

“Tyler Trent has truly left us a legacy,” said Karen E. Pollok, Ph.D., lead researcher. “While we still have much work to do, we are hopeful that new therapies for osteosarcoma will be possible in the near future.”

The great news means so much to Tyler's parents, Tony and Kelly Trent. 

"It just warms my heart,'' Tony Trent said. "To know that not only your son had something to do with this and your family might have something to do with this, but that the research teams are doing some amazing things is quite encouraging,"

"For me it is a great source of comfort to think that Tyler's life and cells are continuing to help make an impact on cancer," said Kelly Trent, Tyler's mother.

​People have donated millions of dollars for cancer research in Tyler’s name, including approximately $180,000 for the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment for Riley Hospital.

Riley Children’s Foundation, in partnership with Tyler Trent and his family, has created the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment for Riley Hospital to honor Riley patient Tyler Trent. This fund supports the Precision Genomics program at Riley Hospital for Children. Funds will cover genetic testing for families and aid in research to continue to search for a cure.

In November of 2018, Tyler broke the Riley Dance Marathon individual fundraising record by raising more than $101,000 for Riley cancer research through Purdue University Dance Marathon (PUDM). In recognition of Tyler’s extraordinary efforts, PUDM chose to dedicate the funds he raised to the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment for Riley Hospital.

Related images