Archive for Cancer research

Cancer Immunotherapy Named ‘Breakthrough of the Year’

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By Robert Levy

Treatments that unleash the body’s own disease-fighting cells against cancer – an approach known as immunotherapy – have been heralded as the “Breakthrough of the Year” by Science magazine.

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New Study: Nuts Linked to Reduced Risk of Pancreatic and Other Cancers

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An analysis of data from the decades-long Nurses’ Health Study revealed that women who ate a one-ounce serving of nuts – any kind of nuts – two or more times a week had a 35 percent lower risk of pancreatic cancer than women who abstained from them. That’s a significant and encouraging piece of news for a field that has had far too little.

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New Research Shows Progress in Breast Cancer Treatment

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The 36th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which ran from Dec. 10-14, brought news of significant advances against a disease that strikes more than 230,000 women and 2,000 men in the United States each year.

The more than 1,000 research papers presented by thousands of scientists and physicians ranged from laboratory explorations of the basic biology of the disease to studies that may change the treatment for patients with a variety of breast cancer subtypes.

Here are summaries of the findings of several high-profile studies:

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Is there a Link Between Dairy and Cancer?

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While some people claim dairy products can prevent cancer, others argue that dairy could actually increase the cancer risk. There are also concerns that dairy can potentially spur growth in hormone-sensitive cancers, including some forms of ovarian and breast cancer.

Is there a relationship between dairy and cancer? We consulted with the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) Nutrition Department to find out.

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Hodgkin Lymphoma: Five Things You Need to Know

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Approximately 173,000 people in the United States are living with Hodgkin lymphoma, or are in remission. Less common than non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma (sometimes referred to as Hodgkin’s lymphoma) is a malignancy of B lymphocytes, an important cell in the immune system. This malignant B cell is known as the Reed-Sternberg cell.

Arnold Freedman, MD, clinical director of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center Adult Lymphoma Program, answers some questions about the disease:

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Chat Live with a Dana-Farber Lymphoma Expert

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Lymphoma: How do we treat it? Where are future therapies headed?

Ann LaCasce, MD

On Wednesday, Dec. 18, Ann LaCasce, MD, of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center Adult Lymphoma Program will answer your questions about lymphoma care in a live video webchat. The 45-minute chat starts at 1 p.m. EST and will air live on Dana-Farber’s YouTube page.

LaCasce will discuss current treatment options as well as future therapies for lymphoma.

If you have a question for Dr. LaCasce, email webchats@dfci.harvard.edu. You can also submit questions by sending us a Tweet @DanaFarber using the hashtag #DFCIWebchat.

Bookmark the webchat video page and tune in live on Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. EST. You can also add the event to your calendar or RSVP on Facebook.

Fighting the Lung Cancer Stigma

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Despite the research, the promising new drugs, the many ongoing clinical trials, lung cancer remains a disease that affects too many people, too often. For patients and family members, the disease carries an added burden: a stigma that lung cancer and smoking go hand in hand, and that lung cancer patients brought this on themselves. Not only must these patients and family members face their disease, but they also must carry the guilt and blame that some people cast their way.

When we posted a recent infographic on smoking and cancer, we unintentionally helped promote that stigma. We’re deeply sorry and have removed the infographic.

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Research Report: New Treatments for Melanoma

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by Richard Saltus

As recently as five years ago, progress in treating life-threatening malignant melanoma was slow. Since then, several molecularly targeted drugs have burst on the scene, and new strategies for awakening the immune system to attack the cancer cells have yielded dramatic long-term survival benefits for some patients.

“The outlook for patients has never been so good – and we anticipate that in the next year or two it will be much better,” says Louise M. Perkins, PhD, chief science officer for the Melanoma Research Alliance, which funds research on the skin cancer.

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Infographic: Pancreatic Cancer by the Numbers

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As November marks Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, view the infographic below to learn more about the disease:

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Clinical Trials and the Future of Lymphoma Treatment

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Current lymphoma therapies are a far cry from the mustard gas used more than 50 years ago. More treatment options, including ones that may be more effective and less toxic, are being studied in ongoing clinical trials.

“Clinical trials really are the future of lymphoma treatment,” says Ann LaCasce, MD, a medical oncologist in the Adult Lymphoma Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

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