Stories about: Research and Innovation

Twist of fate: Anna reconnects with the oncologist who saved her life

Anna survived childhood cancer.
Credit: Mark Dela Cruz

Anna Protsiou was five in 2002 when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. She remembers pain and the fruit-scented anesthesia masks that led her to stop eating cherries. She remembers hospital arts and crafts projects. What she barely remembers is the pediatric oncologist who saved her life.

She was a young girl then who didn’t speak English, moving with her family from their native Greece to be treated for a year at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Now, after moving with her family to Canada in 2014, she’s a 20-year-old dance student at the School of Contemporary Dancers/ University of Winnipeg and a contortionist with a rubber-band body. She’s ready to claim her history as her own, ready to move beyond photographs of the doctor and memories recounted by her parents, ready to take charge of her own health care.

So Anna traveled to Boston to meet her physician, Dr. Lisa Diller, and learn about potential late effects of the high-dose chemotherapy, radiation and two stem cell transplants that eradicated her cancer after surgeons excised her tumor.

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Faces of IBD: Celebrating our patients and their caregivers

Nurse practitioner Caitlin Dolan with the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Boston Children's Hospital.
IBD nurse practitioner Caitlin Dolan educating her patient Jenna, 11

Some say it takes a village to raise a child. When it comes to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), our patients and their families depend on a “village” of caregivers — gastroenterologists, nurses, dietitians, social workers and more — to carry them through their journey.

Learn about the patients who inspire us and the dedicated Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center team that diagnose, educate and treat nearly 1,500 patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis each year.

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Chloe’s smile: Moving the needle on Williams syndrome research

Chloe is cared for at the Boston Children's Williams Syndrome Clinic.
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Her wide, warm smiles are generous. Even strangers can’t resist smiling back. “Chloe loves people and relationships,” says her mom, Johanna. “She can completely change a person’s demeanor with one of her incredible smiles.”

Now, Chloe’s powerful smile is bringing together supporters and scientists to advance research on Williams syndrome, the rare neurodevelopmental disorder she was born with 11 years ago.

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Ask the expert: What is the best way to correct my child’s crossed eye?

Image of Dr. David Hunter, an expert at using Botox to correct crossed eyes
Dr. David Hunter is experienced in using traditional strabismus surgery and Botox injection to correct a child’s crossed eye.

If you see that your child’s eye has become crossed, or he or she complains of having double vision, you may be struggling to find clear answers about what caused this to happen and the best way to get your child’s eyes working together again.

When the sudden onset of an inward-turning crossed eye doesn’t respond to glasses and isn’t associated with other systemic or structural disease, it’s known as acute comitant esotropia. This condition is quite rare and usually requires prompt surgical intervention.

Strabismus: Misaligned eye(s)
Esotropia: Inward-turning (“crossed”) eye(s)
Comitant: Eye misalignment stays the same throughout full range of gaze

Until recently, the only treatment for acute comitant esotropia has been traditional strabismus (misaligned eye) surgery.

But more recently, injection of medical-grade botulinum toxin (Botox) has been used to correct esotropia.

So, how do you know if Botox injection is appropriate for correcting your child’s esotropia? Dr. David Hunter, Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, answers questions about the differences between strabismus surgery and Botox injection.

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