More than a century after scientists recognized the immune system’s potential as a cancer warrior, immunotherapy is rapidly becoming a mainstay of the anti-cancer arsenal. The groundwork was laid in the 1990s, when scientists learned that immune cells carry certain proteins on their surface that enable them to turn off the body’s immune system. That … Continued
Andrew Hong, MD, knows the toll of rare childhood cancers all too well. As a pediatric oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, he’s cared for a number of children who develop unusual, aggressive cancer. One teenager with a deadly type of kidney cancer called renal medullary carcinoma (RMC) left a particularly deep … Continued
Scientists have made numerous gains recently in treating gastrointestinal malignancies, which include cancers of the colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, liver, esophagus, and related tissues. Some advances are reflected in the approval of new drug therapies or changing practice to use existing drugs more effectively. In other cases, protocols are being revised to reduce toxic … Continued
Methods of early detection can include cancer screening, which means to search for cancerous cells or tissue when no symptoms are present.
Drug resistance is one of the major obstacles to successful cancer treatment — so scientists are looking at ways to overcome this obstacle.
Immunotherapy can be dramatically successful for people with limited options — so scientists are working on expanding the benefits to other patients.
What is the relationship between obesity and cancer? Being obese increases one’s risk for a multitude of health complications and diseases, including several types of cancer. Obesity has been linked to thirteen types of cancer with a stronger risk associated with breast, esophageal and endometrial cancers, among others.
One of the most exciting new cancer treatments, CAR T-cell therapy takes its complicated name, in part, from a fire-breathing monster in an ancient Greek myth. CAR is an acronym for “chimeric antigen receptor,” referring to genetically engineered molecules manufactured in a laboratory, inserted into the genetic material of immune T cells that have been … Continued
Medically reviewed by Wendy Y. Chen, MD, MPH Is there a link between soy and an increased risk of breast cancer? “That’s one of the most common questions I get from breast cancer survivors,” says Wendy Chen, MD, MPH, a breast oncologist with the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. While laboratory … Continued
Although she had been fully prepped on what to expect, Barbara Losordo was a bit surprised at the ease and speed of her recovery from surgery for endometrial cancer. Discharged from the hospital the same day she had undergone the procedure, she needed no pain medication afterward. Within a week, she was driving. Within a month, … Continued
Scientists may have figured out a way to let people tan safely – without involving the sun. In an effort to further develop preventative measures for skin cancers like melanoma, researchers from Dana-Farber and other health care organizations have developed a potential topical cream that stimulates skin cells to produce the dark pigment, melanin. Melanin … Continued
While blood cancers known as adult histiocytic disorders are very rare and many patients do well with today’s treatments, researchers are working to improve outcomes with therapies targeted to newly discovered mutations – and they are about to begin testing immunotherapies, too. Histiocytic disorders involved overproduction of immune white cells, histiocytes, that attack tissues in … Continued
As a pediatric dentist, Jay Schwab had a clear-cut enemy: dental disease in children and adolescents, and the apprehensions they faced in the dental environment. Cavities could neither hide from his drill nor fool his X-ray machine, and plaque could easily be scraped away. Generations of patients went away smiling and in good dental health. … Continued
In the high-stakes contest of hide-and-seek between cancer cells and the human immune system, the advantage doesn’t always lie with the body’s defenders. A new approach to treatment, known as CAR T-cell therapy, may shift that balance of power. Cancer cells conceal themselves from the immune system not by barricading themselves in an impenetrable shell, … Continued
Cancer patients often lose weight during treatment, which can limit their ability to withstand treatment and their quality of life. How can we fix this – and what role does energy metabolism play in cancer, and health overall? Those are the questions researcher Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, and his team at Dana-Farber are focused on answering. … Continued
Early last year, at his home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jesus Apolinaris Cruz’s leg hurt so much he could barely sleep. “All day, it was constant pain,” the 13-year-old recalls. His parents took him to two local pediatricians, who examined him, drew blood, and tested his platelets. No diagnosis. Finally, in April 2016, a … Continued
CAR T-cell therapy is a kind of cellular therapy, which uses a patient’s own immune system cells to rally an attack on cancer. They’re made by removing a specific set of cells from the blood, modifying them in a lab to intensify the immune system’s natural response to cancer, and re-injecting them into the patient. … Continued
Clinical trials are scientific studies in which new treatments – drugs, diagnostic procedures, and other therapies – are tested to determine if they are safe and effective for patients. Nearly all cancer drugs in use today were tested and made available to patients through clinical trials, making them a crucial component of cancer research. But what does … Continued
Although immunotherapy seems like a recent phenomenon, physicians have been using the strategy to treat bladder cancer since 1990, when the BCG vaccine, made from a live but weakened tuberculosis bacilli, was approved for early stage cancer that hasn’t invaded the bladder’s muscular wall. Today, BCG is still the recommended standard of care for high-grade … Continued
A new online assessment tool developed at Dana-Farber can help rapidly identify people who should undergo genetic testing for Lynch syndrome, an inherited disorder that greatly increases the lifetime risk of colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, stomach, and other cancers. An estimated 1 in 279 individuals – nearly a million people in the United States – carry … Continued