Gavin vs. Joe Bully: First-of-its-kind laser surgery shrinks tumor by more than 40 percent

The Piersons (from left), Steve, Gavin, Nicole, Grace and Gage, have been through a lot in the past two years.

The Piersons (from left), Steve, Gavin, Nicole, Grace and Gage, have been through a lot in the past two years.

If you’ve been following 8-year-old Gavin Pierson’s story, you know he and his family have been through a lot. In 2012, Gavin was diagnosed with a mature teratoma brain tumor.

Since then, he has undergone numerous craniotomies and he and his family have dealt with big drug companies to fight his brain tumor, which Gavin refers to as “Joe Bully.” Unfortunately, Joe Bully is a particularly tough tumor, located in an area that is difficult to operate on and comprised of hard, “concrete-like” tissue. While Gavin’s prior treatments made progress, Joe Bully kept growing back.

give_gavin_blogBut it appears that Gavin’s neurosurgeon, Joseph Petronio, MD, may have found Joe Bully’s weak spot. Over the past eight months, Gavin has undergone two Visualase laser surgeries, an MRI-guided procedure designed to incinerate the tumor. He’s the first patient with a mature teratoma to ever use Visualase – and it may have stopped Joe Bully in its tracks.

Children’s and the family also successfully petitioned pharmaceutical company Pfizer to grant Gavin access to an experimental drug, palbociclib, to help control the tumor’s growth. Gavin is the youngest patient to use palbo.

We’re happy to announce that a recent MRI scan showed Gavin’s formerly peach-sized tumor has shrunk more than 40 percent. Even better? There are no signs of regrowth.

Gavin’s courage and strength inspire us every day. Thank you, Gavin, and congratulations.

Learn more about Gavin’s story and surgery:

2 thoughts on “Gavin vs. Joe Bully: First-of-its-kind laser surgery shrinks tumor by more than 40 percent

  1. Letitia Jacobson

    Hey, Nicole and family my name is Letitia Jacobson. Your story was very heart felt. I just wanted to tell you I have Spina Bifida and have been doctoring in Minnesota over ten years. I also see the same neurosurgeon (Joseph Petronio) as you guys do. My family and I love him I believe you guys are in good hands and I will be praying for you guys. I’m on Facebook also so you can see more about me and we can keep in touch it’s Letitia Jacobson.

  2. Karla Golay

    Lost my husband due to brain tumor/cancer back in May 2008. I’d like to believe that someday a treatment may be found to stop this hideous disease…….broke my heart.

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