Texas Children's Cancer Center First in Texas to Magnetically Lengthen Nine-Year-Old's Leg as She Grows

HOUSTON- (April 15, 2010) - Nine-year-old Morgan LaRue is the first cancer patient in Texas to benefit from a groundbreaking procedure that will magnetically lengthen her leg, sparing her the possibility of up to 10 future surgeries as her body grows. The implant and extension took place at Texas Children's Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Click here to watch the procedure. Or learn more about Texas Children's Cancer Center or the device.

On March 29, 2010, Morgan lost a portion of the bone in her upper leg to osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and was facing the potential of numerous surgeries in order to keep her left leg even with her right, as she grows into adulthood.In her initial surgery two weeks ago, Dr. Rex Marco, an oncologic orthopedic surgeon at Texas Children's Hospital and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, implanted a prosthetic device that saved Morgan from a lower limb amputation and allowed her cancerous bone to be replaced with a metal implant. The device, a Stanmore Implants Extendable Distal Femoral Replacement,can be extended as Morgan grows, saving her from ongoing invasive procedures.

This week at Texas Children's Cancer Center, Morgan underwent her first outpatient procedure to magnetically extend her leg. By placing her leg into a magnetized "donut" in the outpatient clinic, doctors were able to extend the implanted prosthesis without having to do any surgery. The magnet extender, manufactured by Stanmore Implants, is a reversible extender that is the first and only device of its kind to be used in Texas.

"The difference this device makes for Morgan is incredible," said Dr. Marco. "Herquality of life is so much higher than it would be if she were constantly undergoing surgery.

While the device has been approved and is regularly being used in Europe, it is still pending U. S. Food and Drug Administration approval and has only been used for approximately 15 patients in this country. Dr. Wang, pediatric oncologist at Texas Children's Cancer Center and Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology/Oncology, Baylor College of Medicine, and Dr.Marco, advocated for and received a "compassionate use" exception for the young girl, in order to implant the groundbreaking device.

"Morgan has already been through a lot of treatment for her cancer," said Dr. Wang,Morgan's oncologist, "and this will prevent her from future uncomfortable surgeries."

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.