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?

Treatments that improve the immune system’s ability to recognize and kill cancer cells are known as immunotherapy. For certain patients with advanced bladder cancer, immunotherapy is proving effective, and several immunotherapy drugs are approved for use in such patients. Currently approved treatments A checkpoint inhibitor is a drug — often made of antibodies — that … 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?

Medically reviewed by Thanh U. Barbie, MD 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 … 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

Attacking A Weak Point in Pancreatic Cancer’s Defense

In the fall of 2015, at the age of 44 – young for a person to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – Doron Broman was stunned to learn he had a large tumor on his pancreas that had metastasized to the liver. Facing only months to live, Broman would find himself in the right place … Continued

The Latest Advances Against Hematologic Cancers

Treatment of blood-related, or hematologic, cancers is seizing on insights into the basic genetic wiring of cancer cells and the body’s system for finding and attacking those cells. Research presentations at the annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in December gave evidence of how broad, and rapid, the progress is. Targeted therapies, new combinations … Continued

What’s New in Immunotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer?

For patients with advanced head and neck cancers, immune-based therapies have started to show results against these hard-to-treat tumors. Two immunotherapy drugs were approved in 2016 for use when standard treatments failed, and many other agents are being tested in clinical trials. Immunotherapies work by enhancing the body’s natural defenses against malignancies, and have made … Continued

Online Tool Offers Guidance for Men with Non-Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Men diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer now have access to a new tool on the TrueNTH USA website to help them prepare for their first meeting with a cancer physician. The tool, called Personal Patient Profile-Prostate (P3P), was created by Dana-Farber researchers and is now available to all men with non-metastatic prostate cancer though TrueNTH … Continued

How Does Radiation Raise the Risk of Other Cancers?

Along with chemotherapy, radiation therapy is a common method for treating cancer; about half of patients receive the therapy, which uses high-energy radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells, during the course of their treatment. While radiation therapy is effective against cancer cells, it also leaves its mark on any normal cells it comes … Continued

What To Know About Precision Cancer Medicine [Infographic]

Precision cancer medicine is an evolving approach to cancer care that personalizes treatment based on each patient’s unique genetic mutations. Since 2011, Dana-Farber has used its Profile research project, in partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, to gather adult and pediatric patients’ tumor tissues and detect genetic alterations that may hold … Continued

What’s New in Multiple Myeloma? [Webchat]

In a recent Facebook Live webchat, Jacob Laubach, MD, MPP, Clinical Director of the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center, discussed the different ways that patients can be treated with multiple myeloma, as well as exciting avenues of treatment, such as combination therapy.

New Immunotherapy Therapy Approved for Lymphoma Patients

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new kind of immunotherapy drug for adults and children with classical Hodgkin lymphoma who have relapsed after three or more prior lines of therapy. The approved drug, pembrolizumab (Keytruda), is part of a class of immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors that block the PD-1 protein, which is … Continued

What’s New in Immunotherapy for Kidney Cancer?

Kidney cancer is one of several cancers that has responded well to immunotherapy drugs, which can free the immune system from restraints that cancer cells can impose on it. The drug nivolumab (Opdivo), for example, which was recently approved, can extend survival in patients with metastatic kidney cancer after other drugs have failed. But can … Continued

Firefighters and Cancer: Dana-Farber Scientists Investigate

A fire truck pulls into the truck bay and idles for a minute or two as a firefighter attaches tubing to filter the exhaust out of the station. The firefighter’s face may be close to the exhaust for 30 seconds while the tubing is attached. It’s a routine task, one that’s performed by the same … Continued

Do Childhood Leukemia Patients with Down Syndrome Need Modified Therapy?

Because of their increased susceptibility to the toxicities of chemotherapy, should ALL patients with Down syndrome receive modified treatment to minimize this risk? Or should they be given the same treatment as other children with ALL, to minimize the chance for relapse?

Who Needs Chemotherapy after Treatment for Early Breast Cancer?

Following surgery and/or radiation for early stage breast cancer, chemotherapy is sometimes given to eliminate remaining cancer cells that could cause trouble later. Traditionally, women have been more likely to undergo follow-up chemotherapy if clinical and pathological factors suggested a significant risk of recurrence, such as a larger tumor, higher stage and pathological grade of … Continued

Why Is It Difficult to Pinpoint the Exact Cause of a Person’s Cancer?

A diagnosis of cancer always comes as a shock, and the patient naturally asks the physician, why did this happen? Is it something I did or didn’t do, or did I inherit it, or were chemicals in the environment to blame? “Why patients develop cancers is not well known,” explains Irene Ghobrial, MD, of Dana-Farber. … Continued