Can Obesity Cause Cancer?

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.

Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy: What Does “Chimeric” Mean?

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

Soy and Breast Cancer: Is There a Connection?

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 studies on soy compounds in isolation have sparked … Continued

Human Touch Surgeries, New Therapies Brighten the Picture in Endometrial Cancer

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

New Tanning Drug Could Protect Skin From the Sun

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

What’s New in Treatment of Adult Histiocytic Disorders?

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

In Check: Attacking Cancer from Many Fronts

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

Catch Me if You Can: Finding Cancer Cells that Hide in Plain Sight

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

Meet the Researcher: Bruce Spiegelman

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

An Unclassified Tumor — with a Precisely Targeted Therapy

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: How Does It Work?

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

Cancer Mythbusters Episode #5: Cancer Clinical Trials

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

How Is Immunotherapy Used to Treat Bladder Cancer?

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

New Online Tool Guides Genetic Testing for Lynch Syndrome

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

The Progress of Cancer Immunotherapy: The Tip of the Iceberg

If the human immune system was a powerful racing car, you could say that scientists in the past few years have gained unprecedented control over how to make it accelerate, and what causes it to slow or stop. This knowledge has spawned new immunotherapy drugs that are delivering dramatic benefits to some patients with advanced … Continued

Can a Tumor Biopsy or Surgery Cause Cancer to Spread?

There’s little reason to worry that a biopsy or other surgical procedure will allow cancer cells to escape and spread within the body, specialists say. “A common patient concern is that biopsies may cause microscopic cells from cancers to metastasize to other parts of the body,” says Thanh Barbie, MD, a breast surgeon in the … Continued

How Pediatric and Canine Cancer Similarities Can Help Both Children and Pets

In March 2016, Ollie the pug, a therapy dog at Boston Children’s Hospital, paid a bedside visit to 7-year-old Carter Mock. Both dog and boy lost limbs to osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone. Ollie’s left front leg was amputated at the shoulder. After removing the tumor in Carter’s left leg bone, surgeons fashioned  a … Continued