Aiden Maxwell’s mother, Lisa, credits the NRI with "bringing her son back" after tuberous sclerosis complex, a genetic condition resulting in benign brain tumors and severe seizures, reversed his development at the age of two.
In 2013, Aiden participated in a clinical trial at Texas Children’s that grew out of the basic research in the Cain Laboratories at the NRI. NRI researchers discovered that rapamycin, an approved cancer drug, and its analog, everolimus, proved highly effective against his severe epileptic seizures.
"It was devastating, because at 23 months he was speaking simple sentences, and he was able to do really complex things," she said. "The second those tumors calcified, it was like I had a newborn again. After two years of reading with him and responding with him, it was like we didn’t have a child anymore. He went back to no speech, and he was destructive. He would just tear stuff down. And there was no, ‘Mama, I love you,’ anymore. That was gone because of one mutated gene."
In 2013, Aiden participated in a clinical trial through the NRI. It tested everolimus, a cancer drug, which proved to be highly effective against his severe epilepsy. "Within 6 months of being on the trial, his speech was clearer. He can read, he can do math. I really believe that this drug helped create new neural connections around his tumors. He actually went seizure-free for a good two years. It was miraculous. The best part of all? I got to hear my son say, ‘I love you’ again."
The Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital is advancing the understanding of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders through basic and translational research to ultimately mitigate the impact of these devastating disorders on human lives.
More than one billion people—including 300 million children—in the world suffer from some form of neurological disease. In the U.S., there are 50 million children and adults affected, and the number of children is increasing at an alarming pace. Collaborative, multidisciplinary research is needed to speed basic science discoveries in the laboratory and translation of those discoveries into more effective treatments for patients.
Following are just a few examples of the exciting advances made possible through your generous support of the NRI during Promise: The Campaign for Texas Children's Hospital.