Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer
by Joe Palca
May 07, 2014
At 4 months of age, Noah was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma. Children with the disease form tumors at the back of their eyeballs. Children like Noah with the inherited form of retinoblastoma start to form tumors before they’re even born.
B. SHAW: if I can make good come from this bad stuff that happened to my son, and I can show him when he grows up, what happened to you, son, isn’t as bad as it might seem.
PALCA: Because your disease, Noah, led to an invention that saves other kids’ lives.
The Shaws were determined not to let another one of their children suffer from retinoblastoma. So to prevent that, they chose to have a second child using in vitro fertilization. That way they could screen the resulting embryos and only implant the ones that did not carry the damaged copy of the RB1 gene.