IU researchers using Tyler Trent's cancer cells find promising therapy

Tyler Trent. (WTHR/Rich Nye)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have found a promising therapy using Tyler Trent's cancer cells.

It has led to a combination therapy that significantly slows tumor growth in models built with Trent's cells.

Trent died Jan. 1, 2019 after fighting an aggressive form of bone cancer.

By looking at Trent's cancer cells, researchers were able to find a variation that is found in tumors that recur.

This is an image of Tyler Trent's cancer cells. (WTHR/Rich Nye)

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.

Karen E. Pollok, Ph.D. (WTHR/Rich Nye)

The researchers’ next steps include better understanding 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.”

His parents were also inspired by the research.

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

"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.