Brazilian model Celso Santebañes, who was nicknamed “The Human Ken Doll,” has died after a five-month struggle with leukemia.
Celso Santebañes, 20, died on Thursday, June 4, from bacterial pneumonia following a bout with leukemia.
Diagnosed with the rare form of blood cancer last year, Celso Santebañes underwent a battery of chemotherapy treatments starting in December of 2014. He died at the Federal University of Uberlândia Clinical Hospital, where he was undergoing his latest round of chemotherapy.
Celso Santebañes spent thousands of dollars on surgery to transform himself into a real-life version of iconic doll Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken, People magazine reports.
Starting at the age of 15, Celso Santebañes entered beauty contests. As a teenager, people kept telling him that he looked like a Ken Doll. Obsessed with the perfection of physical beauty, the Brazilian model started to identify features of his face that didn’t look like Ken Doll.
His nose was too wide, his lip too natural and his philtrum – the crease of the upper lip – simply too natural.
By his late teens, Celso Santebañes had fixed his “imperfections” and joined a growing number of adult men aspiring to look like a Ken Doll. Not to be outdone by the original Mattel doll, Celso Santebañes released a line of “Celso” dolls modeled after himself. He daydreamed about making a film with Valeria Lukyanova, the Ukrainian “Human Barbie”.
In his five month battle with cancer, Celso Santebañes immediately had to confront his own physical deterioration, the undoing of what had become his personal identity and national image. It started with dark spots on his skin and bleeding gums, side effects of the blood cancer. Once in treatment his hair fell out. He’d later be confined to a wheelchair, a scrawny pale shadow.
Fans of Talia Castellano, who lost her fight with cancer this week, have been fulfilling the inspirational teenager’s bucket list.
The 13-year-old’s list included having a cake fight and singing around a campfire, to getting a tattoo and covering a car in sticky notes
Talia Castellano, who grabbed the attention of the nation after appearing on the Ellen show last September, had 74 items on her bucket list, which included giving flowers to a stranger and going to a Justin Bieber concert.
The Castellano family had posted her bucket list on her Facebook page, which has more than half a million “Likes” five days before Talia died, and soon her fans were posting pictures of them fulfilling the teenager’s dreams, according to ABC News.
“Talia is everywhere you look and we couldn’t be more pleased. And we especially know she is loving all the attention” her family posted on the page the day after she died.
They added: “Thank you for keeping her spirit alive and showing her family that her message and voice will continue to make an impact across the globe.”
Talia Castellano was invited on the Ellen show, where she was made an honorary CoverGirl and presented with a professional shot advert
Talia Castellano had attracted a large following thanks to her upbeat attitude to her neuroblastoma and leukemia diagnosis.
She posted make up tutorials on YouTube, and said she refused to wear a wig because it made her feel “fake” and “just not me”.
More than 759,110 people subscribed to her YouTube page to watch Talia Castellano’s bubbly and expert tips.
“When I put on my make-up I feel like I can embrace those features that I really like about myself,” she explained last year.
“I feel if someone’s looking at me, they’re looking at my makeup, not looking at my bald head. I am just trying to make young girls, young adults, adults, anyone, feel beautiful by using makeup.”
Thanks to the online make up tutorials, Talia Castellano was able to achieve two of her bucket list wishes.
She was invited on the Ellen show, where she was made an honorary CoverGirl and presented with a professional shot advert by host Ellen DeGeneres, another representative of the cosmetics brand.
Earlier this year, Talia Castellano also fulfilled her dream of becoming a fashion designer as she collaborated on a line of clothing for teenagers called That Bald Chick with Los Angeles-based designer, Urbana Chappa.
Urbana Chappa, who runs a womenswear label called Maison De Urbana, decided to help fulfill Talia Castellano’s ambitions after hearing her inspirational story on the Ellen show last fall.
As Talia Castellano came to terms with her terminal disease, which was first diagnosed when she was seven-years-old, she found comfort in what she had been able to achieve in her short life.
“Having a YouTube channel, [inspiring] people and having people look up to me . . . the journey of having cancer was amazing. But every journey has an end,” Talia Castellano said.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]A new treatment for leukemia had amazing results, surprising even the researchers who designed it. The new treatment has eradicated the cancer cells present in the first three patients tested bodies.
Early results of a clinical trial showed that genetically engineered T cells eradicate leukemia cells and thrive.
Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have genetically engineered patients’ T cells — a type of white blood cell — to attack cancer cells in advanced cases of a common type of leukemia.
The first two of three patients studied, who received the innovative treatment, have been cancer-free for more than one year. In the case of the third patient, over 70% of cancer cells were removed, according to the researchers.
"Microscopic image showing two T cells binding to beads, depicted in yellow, that cause the cells to divide. After the beads are removed, the T cells are infused into cancer patients." (Dr. Carl June / Pennsylvania Medicine)
“In just three weeks, tumors were destroyed, the effect being more violent than we ever have imagined,” said Dr. Carl June, one of the researchers involved in the study.
“Each cell can destroyed thousands of cancer cells,” said June, “each patient have been removed tumors from at least 900 grams.”
“A huge accomplishment”
[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”] “This is a huge accomplishment — huge,” said Dr. Lee M. Nadler, dean for clinical and translational research at Harvard Medical School, who discovered the molecule on cancer cells that the Pennsylvania team’s engineered T cells target.
Innovative treatment is using patients’ own T cells, which are extracted from body cells and then genetically modified to attack cancer cells and to multiply and then reintroduced into patients’ blood.
Findings of the trial were reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine.
According to LA Times report, for building the cancer-attacking cells, the researchers modified a virus to carry instructions for making a molecule that binds with leukemia cells and directs T cells to kill them. Then they drew blood from three patients who suffered from chronic lymphocytic leukemia and infected their T cells with the virus.
When they infused the blood back into the patients, the engineered T cells successfully eradicated cancer cells, multiplied to more than 1,000 times in number and survived for months. They even produced dormant “memory” T cells that might spring back to life if the cancer was to return.
On average, the team calculated, each engineered T cell eradicated at least 1,000 cancer cells.
Side effects included loss of normal B cells, another type of white blood cell, which are also attacked by the modified T cells, and tumor lysis syndrome, a complication caused by the breakdown of cancer cells.
“We knew [the therapy] could be very potent,” said Dr. David Porter, director of the blood and marrow transplantation program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a coauthor of both papers, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine.
“But I don’t think we expected it to be this dramatic on this go-around.”
Bone marrow transplants from healthy donors have been effective in fighting some cancers, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, but the treatment can cause side effects such as infections, liver and lung damage, even death.
“1/5 of bone marrow transplant recipients may die of complications unrelated to their cancer,” Porter said.
Researchers have been working for many years to develop cancer treatments that leverage a patient’s immune system to kill tumors with much greater precision.
Specialists not involved in the trial said the new discovery is very important because it suggested that T cells could be adapted to destroy a range of cancer cells, including ones of the blood, breast or colon
“It is kind of a holy grail,” said Dr. Gary Schiller, a researcher from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center who was not involved in the trial.
“It would be great if this could be applied to acute leukemia, where there is a terrible unmet medical need,” UCLA’s Schiller said.
Dr. David Porter added:
“Previously efforts to replace risky bone marrow transplants with such engineered T cells proved disappointing because the cells were unable to multiply or survive in patients.”
“This time, the T cells were more robust because the team added extra instructions to their virus to help the T cells multiply, survive and attack more aggressively.”
“About 15,000 patients are diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia every year. Many can live with the disease for years. Bone marrow transplants are the only treatment that eradicates the cancer.”
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]Dr. David Porter cautioned that these were preliminary results and the scientists plan to continue the trial, treating more patients and following them over longer periods.
“The researchers also would like to expand the work to other tumor types and diseases,” Porter said.
The hope, scientists said, is that the method would work for cancers that can kill more ruthlessly and rapidly.