In his house across from the Dorchester Zoo in New England, Robert Sandler is not doing well.
A high fever, severe lethargy and growing pallor affect the 2-year-old boy.
He is taken to the Boston Children's Hospital and the diagnosis is made: Robert has acute leukemia.
At the end of August 1947, it was a death sentence.
The only weapons available against cancer are surgery and radiation therapy.
Apart from a few attempts with mustard gas derivatives, chemotherapy does not exist.
Faced with leukemia, doctors can do little more than offer transfusions to alleviate the drop in the number of red blood cells but can do nothing against the dramatic rise in abnormal white blood cells.
Patients have at most a few months of life ahead of them.
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