Thalidomide reveals path for targeting “undruggable” transcription factors for cancer treatment

Thalidomide, a morning-sickness drug recalled in the 1960s because it caused devastating birth defects, is now commonly used to treat multiple myeloma and other blood cancers. It and its chemical relatives work by causing cells to destroy two proteins — members of a larger family of conventionally “undruggable” proteins called transcription factors — that feature … Continued

Standard Therapy for Newly Diagnosed Ovarian Cancer Enters New Era

After seeing few updates for more than two decades, treatment options for ovarian cancer are beginning to expand rapidly. As doctors and scientists have learned more about the molecular forces at work in ovarian cancer, and about the immune system’s role in fighting the disease, several new therapies are being used, either as FDA-approved drugs … Continued

Immunopatient: One Patient’s Story of Cancer and Immunotherapy

It’s not uncommon for cancer patients to take to a pen after a diagnosis. Peter Rooney’s taken that to another level. Rooney, a former journalist and author of the book Die Free, captured his cancer journey in the new book Immunopatient: The New Frontier of Curing Cancer. The following excerpt is reprinted with permission from Immunopatient by … Continued

How to Support A Grandparent Who Has Cancer

With more people living longer than ever with chronic or serious illnesses, grandparents with cancer are a rapidly growing group. Here are some tips for how children of almost any age can support a grandmother or grandfather facing cancer. If it has been sometime since you saw your grandparent or the treatment has changed their … Continued

CRISPR Enables Cancer Immunotherapy Drug Discovery

This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. A novel screening method using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology has revealed new drug targets that could potentially enhance the effectiveness of PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors, a promising new class of cancer immunotherapy. The method, developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, uses CRISPR-Cas9 … Continued

Interrupting Breast Cancer Treatment to Have a Baby

Sarah Murray was planning her wedding when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29 and became a patient in the Young Women with Breast Cancer program at Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers. “Cancer was the furthest thing from our minds,” she recalls. Like many other young women in her shoes, … Continued

Ovarian Cancer and Immunotherapy: The State of the Science

Immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer and is now undergoing testing in ovarian cancer. Clinical trials of drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors, which can unleash a potent immune system attack on cancer cells, have produced remissions in about 10-15 percent of patients with advanced and recurrent ovarian cancer – somewhat … Continued

Identical Twins Share with Near Identical Cancer Diagnoses

Identical twins George and Greg Robinson have been inseparable for 57 years, from sharing a childhood bedroom and classes in school through dual Air Force stints and careers in the airline industry. Today, back in their native Cambridge, Mass., they live just a block apart and still talk several times daily. But there is one … Continued

Cancer Immunotherapy: Taking Aim with Neoantigens

It’s a compelling idea that has attracted scientists for decades: rather than poison tumors with chemicals and radiation, use a biological agent – a vaccine – to rally the body’s formidable immune defenders to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Yet, even as other forms of immunotherapy are showing promise against some cancers, efforts to … Continued

FDA Approves New Targeted Therapies for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signed off on a new targeted treatment for some patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an often aggressive disease and the most common adult acute leukemia. The FDA approved the drug Idhifa (enasidenib) specifically for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory AML who have … Continued

Which U.S. States Have the Highest Rates of Melanoma?

Melanoma is a rare form of skin cancer that typically begins in a mole. It can occur anywhere on the body, and although it is the least common type of skin cancer, it is more likely to spread to other parts of the body and, ultimately, cause death. Within the United States, Utah has the … Continued

What’s New in Radiation Oncology? [Webchat]

At Dana-Farber, radiation oncologists like Dr. David Kozono, MD, PHD work to improve outcomes in cancer through research and deliver quality care to patients through radiation therapy. About two-thirds of cancer patients undergo radiation therapy as part of their treatment. What new developments are occurring in the world of radiation? According to Kozono, technological advances … Continued

Tips for Starting Difficult Conversations with Your Care Team

By James Tulsky, MD James Tulsky, MD, is chair of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber, with a longstanding research interest in clinician-patient communication and quality of life for patients with serious illnesses. He is also founding director of VitalTalk, a non-profit with a mission to nurture healthier connections between clinicians and patients through … Continued

10 Evidence-Based Cancer Prevention Tips

Cancer researchers continue to explore why cancer occurs in the body – and how to stop it before it shows up. Tools like genetic testing, which looks for alterations, or mutations, in a person’s genes, can help determine whether a person is more likely to develop certain kinds of cancer. But researchers have also identified … Continued

Pediatric Brain Tumor Patients Find Success with Targeted Drug

  At first, early intervention specialists told Christi Powers that her young son’s gross motor delays and poor balance were likely the result of weak muscle tone, but when Danny developed severe headaches at age 4, she took him to the emergency room. Soon the suburban Boston boy was diagnosed with a low-grade glioma, the … Continued

Do PSA Levels Change with Age?

Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein naturally produced by the prostate gland in men. Because prostate cancer can increase the level of PSA in the blood, many doctors and professional organizations recommend that men over age 50 receive a PSA test in conjunction with a digital rectal exam to help detect the disease as … Continued

Find Skin Cancer Early: Know Your ABCDEs [Infographic]

With an estimated 8,500 new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the U.S. every day, it is important that you not only protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays, but also regularly check your skin for anything out of the ordinary. While freckles and moles are often harmless, it is important to perform regular self-exams … Continued

Does Having More Moles Increase My Risk of Melanoma?

Moles are benign growths on the skin that sometimes become cancerous. But what exactly is the connection between moles and melanoma, the most aggressive skin cancer? While it’s true that people with many moles should be screened more frequently by a dermatologist, scientists are learning that the mole-melanoma connection isn’t so straightforward. For example, a … Continued

FDA Approves Targeted Therapy Combination for Melanoma

Just over a month after approving a first-of-its-kind combination therapy for advanced melanoma, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signed off on another drug combination to treat the disease. The FDA has approved a targeted therapy combination, Cotellic (cobimetinib) and vemurafenib, to treat advanced melanoma that has spread to other parts of the … Continued