When is an Antipsychotic Not an Antipsychotic? When it’s an Antileukemic

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By Tom Ulrich

One of the hot trends in drug discovery could be called drug re-discovery: finding new uses for drugs that have already received FDA approval for a different indication.

It’s an approach that allows researchers and clinicians to rapidly test potential treatments for rare or difficult-to-treat conditions. Because the drug’s safety profile is already known, much of the preclinical and early clinical work that goes into developing a drug can be bypassed.

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New Treatment Option for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

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The Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of the drug ibrutinib offers a major new option for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who tried at least one prior therapy, physicians say.

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Living Life

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By Jack Coates

In May 2001, I was diagnosed with medullablastoma. I was 19 years old and had just finished my freshman year at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island.

Medullablastoma is a cancer that affects the brain and the spine. I had three surgeries, 52 weeks of chemo, and six weeks of radiation. I spent a year and two months in the hospital and went from 217 pounds to 97. I was scared. I was asking God: “Why?  Why did it have to happen to me?” It was shocking. Many things went through my mind.

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Do Men and Women Have Different Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

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While there are slightly more incidences of colorectal cancer in men (71,860 new cases projected in the U.S. in 2014) than women (65,000), both men and women generally exhibit the same symptoms of the disease, according to Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, clinical director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

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Coping With Cancer Through Creative Expression

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A cancer diagnosis brings more than physical challenges. Patients and loved ones must also manage the emotional toll that can come with it. Storytelling, through word, pictures or other creative expression, can be an effective way to deal with these emotions and help with the healing process.

Some people look to painting or writing, while others may cope through dance, music, or a tattoo.

We want you to share your story with us. Whether it’s a piece of artwork, a blog post, or a small tattoo on your wrist – show us how you coped with a cancer diagnosis. Submit your images and stories to our “Coping with Cancer Through Creative Expression” gallery

Here are a few patients who have found creative ways to cope with their diagnosis:

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Clinical Trials Paving the Way for Improved Vulvar Cancer Treatment

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Cancers of the vulva – the external portion of the female genitals – are diagnosed in approximately 4,700 women in the United States each year. While many patients can be cured by a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, others – particularly those whose cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body – often don’t fare as well.

As one of the rarer forms of gynecologic cancer, vulvar cancer hasn’t attracted as much research funding as other forms. Still, several efforts are under way to make treatment options more effective, according to Neil Horowitz, MD, a vulvar cancer expert at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber.

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DNA Test May Offer Alternative to Pap Smear

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A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel has recommended that a DNA test should be the primary screening tool for cervical cancer, rather than the traditional Pap smear. The DNA test detects the DNA of human papillomavirus (HPV), the sexually transmitted infection that causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.

“This is an important step forward for cervical cancer screening,” says Alexi Wright, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. Specifically, the DNA test screens for HPV-16 and HPV-18, the two highest-risk HPV strains, as well as 12 other high-risk HPV types, using a blood sample.

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Can Drinking Increase Risk of Malignant Melanoma?

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It’s well known that excessive sunning and sunburns can foment the development of malignant melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer. Now, in a preliminary study, scientists have suggested that drinking alcohol may be an added risk factor for the disease.

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What Role Does Nutrition Play During Cancer Treatment: A Twitter Chat Recap

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Whether it’s before, during, or after cancer treatment, nutrition plays a critical role in a patient’s overall health. Certain foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, can help increase energy levels, support the immune system, and manage side effects.

StacyKtwitterchat-2Dana-Farber (@DanaFarber) and HealthCentral (@healthcentral) hosted a live Twitter chat on nutrition and cancer on March 12, 2014. The chat featured Dana-Farber nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, as well as a large group of hospitals, nurses, dieticians, doctors, and patients. Some of the topics included tips for maintaining a balanced diet, how to manage side effects with food, how to lose weight in a healthy way, and information about vitamins and supplements.

Scroll through the Storify below for some highlights from the cancer nutrition chat and tips on how you can start a healthy eating routine.

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How Cancer Can Affect Sleep

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For many cancer patients and survivors, insomnia can be a troublesome side effect of living with cancer. There are many reasons why patients and survivors may have problems with sleep.

Eric Zhou, PhD, a clinical fellow at Dana-Farber and research fellow at Harvard Medical School, explains why insomnia can be linked to cancer and also discusses the best methods for getting some sleep.

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