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LISTEN: Innovations in pediatric cancer research at UMass Medical School

By Sarha Willey

UMass Medical School Communications

December 02, 2019

Luis Portillo Reyes, of Worcester, was 19 years old when he began suffering from persistent flu-like symptoms. He was living on his own and was busy working and going to school. When he finally took time to go to the doctor, he was shocked to learn that he had leukemia.

“It has taken a toll on my family and me, and I’ve had to find strength I never thought I had,” Portillo Reyes shared in a new Voices of UMassMed podcast interview. “Being 19, you often think you just want to go to school, you want to work, just conquer the world.”

In the podcast, Portillo Reyes opens up about being diagnosed with leukemia, his treatment as a pediatric cancer patient, how he’s doing now and what it means to him to know that UMass Medical School is making strides in pediatric cancer research.

UMass Medical School clinician scientist Jason Shohet, MD, PhD, joined Portillo Reyes in this episode. Dr. Shohet, the Ali and John Pierce Chair of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, and associate professor of pediatrics and division chief of pediatric hematology & oncology, discusses research into promising treatments to save young patients and make the effects of cancer therapies less toxic.

Pediatric cancer care and research are this year’s Fund-a-Need at the 11th annual Winter Ball on Friday, Dec. 6. The premier fundraising gala supports the mission of the academic health sciences center formed by UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Listen to the entire episode on the Voices of UMassMed podcast here:

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