By Jane Roper
When our five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) last summer, our world was turned upside down.
Extended hospital stays, twice weekly clinic visits, the side effects of chemo and the constant possibility of unexpected hospital admissions mean stress and exhaustion for all of us. And looming in the background of it all is the unspoken worry: will our daughter get through this?
With Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana-Farber has performed thousands of stem cell/bone marrow transplants for adult and pediatric patients with blood cancers and other serious illnesses.
What’s the difference between these two terms? As it turns out, the only real distinction is in the method of collecting the stem cells.
Let’s start with the basics. Read more
Cancer scientists use a wide variety of techniques to study the growth and development of tumor cells. Laboratory research often focuses on individual cells or tissue samples, but to learn how cancers grow and respond to therapies in living organisms, scientists rely on other experimental models. In recent years, zebrafish have become the model of choice for studying many cancer types. Dana-Farber’s A. Thomas Look, MD, who uses zebrafish in his own work, explains why. Read more
Alyssa Ywuc was a 23-year-old nursing student when she was diagnosed with leukemia. After seeing first-hand the work of oncology nurses as a patient, she decided to specialize in oncology nursing. We talked with Alyssa about both sides of the cancer experience – her time as a patient and her future career as a caregiver.
Every Sunday, the Cutter family holds a Chemofeast. The door to their home is open to any and all who wish to attend. It’s a day full of food, beverages, and a lot of laughter, and 15-year-old Blake Cutter gets to choose the menu. Then on Monday, his mother, Lois, drives him to chemotherapy at Dana-Farber. Read more
Maddie Dillon, 17, did not really understand what cancer was when she was diagnosed at age 8. With the help of Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, she beat her leukemia, but only briefly. Six months later it came back, and she went through more treatment. Read more
By Karen Lee Sobol
I recently learned that the word “patient” shares a Latin root with the word “compassion.”
Any one of us can become a patient, for a number of reasons. For me, hearing a diagnosis of Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia flipped a switch. I became a patient in a big way. Read more
When Good Morning America host Robin Roberts revealed that she has myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), she turned a spotlight on a group of blood disorders that affect an estimated 35,000 to 55,000 people in the United States.
In patients with MDS, the bone marrow fails to produce normal quantities of blood cells and the cells themselves are often abnormal, resulting in anemia and an array of symptoms including paleness, fatigue, susceptibility to infections, and easy bruising or bleeding. The syndrome, of which there are at least 15,000 new diagnoses each year in the United States, formerly was known as “pre-leukemia” because about one-third of patients go on to develop acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
It’s not always easy to recognize that we live in a golden age. Too often we fail to appreciate the amazing things going on around us because we‘re so caught up in day-to-day activities and pressing demands that we presume that the extraordinary is rather ordinary.
So it may be with cancer treatment in 2012. And the future looks to be even better – not necessarily easier, simpler, or cheaper, but unequivocally better.
Here are five reasons why. Read more
At this year’s American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting, Dana-Farber scientists presented major findings that could one day improve diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers, extend life, or even cure some diseases.
Among the highlights:
Steven Treon, MD, PhD, and his colleagues identified a gene mutation that underlies the vast majority of cases of Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The results suggest that new, effective treatments are now possible for people with Waldenström’s. Read more about Dr. Treon’s Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia research breakthrough.
Catherine J. Wu, MD, co-led investigators who discovered nine new gene mutations that could help doctors predict if and how chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) will progress, and lead to new treatments for CLL. Take a closer look at Dr. Wu’s CLL research.
Corey Cutler, MD, MPH, and his colleagues reported on a new clinical trial that may improve the ability of stem cells from umbilical cord blood to take root in patients receiving a stem cell transplant more quickly and with a higher degree of success. Learn more about Dr. Cutler’s stem cell transplant clinical trial.