Nutrition Tips for Cancer Caregivers

Caregivers play a vital role in helping cancer patients face the daily challenges of their diagnosis. While everyone’s needs may vary, caregivers are often asked to assist a patient with their meals. This help comes in many forms, from preparing a single dish to grocery shopping. No matter what you’re asked to do, it’s important … Continued

Immunotherapy for Pediatric Solid Tumors: What’s the Latest?

Medically reviewed by Natalie Collins, MD, PhD New treatments that spur the immune system against cancer have entered the clinic to combat some forms of pediatric blood cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). One form of immunotherapy, CAR T cells, has been approved for children and young adults with ALL. In treating solid tumors … Continued

Is There Evidence That GMOs Can Cause Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD/LDN, CSO While there is limited scientific evidence demonstrating that eating organic food can decrease cancer risk, what is the evidence regarding its counterpart, GMOs? For now, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that consuming GMOs can increase your cancer risk. What are GMOs? GMO stands for genetically modified organism; … Continued

What is eTCR Cell Therapy and How Does It Work?

Medically reviewed by Sarah Nikiforow, MD, PhD; George Demetri, MD; and Caron Jacobson, MD Among the most powerful new cancer treatments being developed today are “living drugs,” which are made by genetically modifying a patient or normal donor’s immune cell. The genetic modification is designed to alter the cells so that, when returned to the … Continued

Which Professions are Associated with Cancer Risk?

Medically reviewed by Huma Rana, MD About 5-8% of all cancers worldwide are caused by exposures to carcinogens in the workplace, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Although the rate of workplace-related cancers has decreased due to safety regulations, exposure to some dusts, gases, and chemicals can increase cancer risk in … Continued

Anesthesia: Types, Side Effects, And Other Information to Know

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth M. Rickerson, MD Anesthesia is a medical treatment used to block a patient’s awareness of pain during a surgical procedure. Are there different types of anesthesia? There are three different types of anesthesia (or, anesthetics): General anesthesia puts the patient in a deep sleep, and a ventilator is provided to provide … Continued

Stella’s Story: Winning Against Neuroblastoma

This post originally appeared on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. The Downey family was enjoying the holidays with family in Guatemala in 2017 when their 13-month-old daughter Stella started having unusual symptoms. “She was very clingy towards me and not acting like herself,” says Stella’s mom, Fiorella, a child life specialist at Boston … Continued

What is Aplastic Anemia and How Is It Treated?

Aplastic anemia is a rare but serious blood disorder that occurs when the body’s bone marrow cannot produce enough healthy blood cells to function properly. Aplastic anemia can occur in both children and adults. Most cases of aplastic anemia are idiopathic, meaning the underlying cause is unknown. The blood disorder can have inherited (genetic) causes … Continued

For Stem Cell Recipient, Meeting Donor Proves Fruitful Experience

As a fruit and vegetable farmer, Douglas Young measures his life’s work by the seasons. Since receiving a stem cell transplant for his rare blood cancer, he has been able to enjoy more harvests than he once thought possible — inspiring him to seek out the stranger responsible for saving his life. In spring 2019, … Continued

What is Clonal Hematopoiesis of Indeterminate Potential (CHIP)?

As people age, it’s normal for their blood-forming cells, known as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), to acquire genetic mutations, or misspellings, in their DNA. Most of these mutations don’t affect how HSCs function or cause disease. In some cases, however, the mutations give certain HSCs an edge in survival, granting them an outsized role in … Continued

CRISPR-Cas9 Screen Opens New Targets for Ewing Sarcoma, Other Childhood Cancers

This post originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. While the genetic mutations driving adult cancers can sometimes be targeted with drugs, most pediatric cancers lack good targets. That’s because their driving genetic alterations often create fusion proteins that aren’t easy for drugs to attack. “This is one reason why it is notoriously hard … Continued

Targeting Tumor Heterogeneity To Reduce Treatment Resistance

One of the biggest challenges in treating cancer is that the cells making up a tumor – say a breast or lung tumor – are enormously diverse, or heterogeneous. This tumor heterogeneity can be both genetic, meaning the DNA in the tumor cells differs from one cell to the next, and epigenetic, meaning that the … 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