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SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital

Passeig Sant Joan de Déu, 2, 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat

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From Argentina to Barcelona to treat their six-year-old son’s neuroblastoma

Nico Furtuna with his parents at SJD Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona

Nico’s family found out about SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital on the recommendation of their pediatrician in Argentina after exhausting the existing treatments in their country. The previous positive experiences of other families from his country also influenced the decision to come here.

At just three years of age, Nico was diagnosed a high-risk neuroblastoma in Argentina. For two and a half years, he received chemotherapy treatment, he was given a bone marrow transplant, as well as radiotherapy and immunotherapy sessions. Nico went into remission, but in 2022 he had a relapse and and in his country he had already exhausted the existing treatments there.

Nico’s doctor in Argentina, who had worked at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital with Dr Jaume Mora and his team, recommended that the family travel to Barcelona for the possibility of accessing the latest type of immunotherapy available. Nico’s family also spoke with Argentine families that have been to the Hospital and remembered what they had been told.

“At SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital we felt at home because of the way we were treated, the ease of understanding everything thanks to the language and the similar lifestyle as in our country.” This was the decider for Nico’s family to travel to Barcelona. They knew about other hospitals in the United States that provided the same treatment, but the cost was exorbitant and the language was another barrier for them. 

Nico arrived at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital in July 2022. After the medical tests had been carried out when he arrived, the staff realised that he could not yet be treated. He had to undergo more chemotherapy cycles until the illness had gone into remission and he was able to start immunotherapy with Naxitamab, the latest existing immunotherapy treatment.

Nico’s family very much appreciated having come to the Hospital so that he was able to access the latest existing immunotherapy treatment, available in our country

Nico’s mother said, “we felt very welcome here from the start, and we are extremely grateful to the staff at the Hospital, who we hold in high esteem. What’s more Dr Muñoz made us feel completely at ease, as he always gives us the time and place to talk, he explains things as they are, he gives us alternatives, etc.

Dr Muñoz said, “the treatment is proving to be very effective and the patient is currently in remission. We are carrying out consolidation treatment and if he continues to make good progress he will probably be able to go back to Argentina in a few months’ time.”

Nico’s parents added, “we live for the present and it gives us huge peace of mind that the doctor here talks with our doctor in Argentina; we can see that they work as a team, they have a good understanding and they discuss the follow-up plan for when we return to Argentina.”

Given their circumstances, Nico’s family are extremely pleased to have come to this Hospital and to be able to follow this treatment that is not available in their country. Nico finds great comfort in being able to lead a relatively normal life without having to stay in hospital, and as he is given outpatient treatment, afterwards he can go out to the park, meet his friends, play basketball, and continue learning Spanish and maths.