Can Endometrial Cancer Be Treated with Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy, which boosts the patient’s immune system response against cancer, is an emerging area of treatment and research. The immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is approved to treat women whose endometrial cancer cells have certain characteristics. What type of endometrial cancer does immunotherapy work for? Pembrolizumab is effective in shrinking or slowing the growth of a … Read more

What’s the Difference Between BRCA1 and BRCA2?

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are cancer-susceptibility genes, meaning that people who inherit pathogenic* mutations in either one have an increased risk of developing certain cancers. Hereditary (or “germline”) mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 cause Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome. Having a pathogenic mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 doesn’t mean you will definitely develop cancer, but … Read more

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; … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

Anesthesia: Side Effects and Other Information to Know

Anesthesia is a medical treatment used to block a patient’s awareness of pain during a surgical procedure. What are the side effects of anesthesia? Side effects of anesthesia can occur during and after the procedure. Most are minor, temporary, and result from general anesthesia. These can include: Nausea and vomiting Sore throat Postoperative delirium (confusion … Read more

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 … Read more

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, … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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, … Read more

Immunotherapy for Ovarian Cancer: What’s New?

By Ursula Matulonis, MD, Chief, Division of Gynecologic Oncology Immunotherapy, which has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer, is undergoing extensive study in patients with ovarian cancer. Although much of this research is in the early stages, it has produced some intriguing findings about the promise of this approach to treatment. Clinical trials … Read more