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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

Do PSA Levels Change with Age?

Medically reviewed by Mark Pomerantz, MD 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 … Read more

Aplastic Anemia or Dyskeratosis Congenita? Unclear Diagnosis Demands a Difficult Decision

Having a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is heart-wrenching for all parents, but when the diagnosis itself is uncertain, parents can face excruciatingly difficult decisions. This is what Katie and Josh Stevens of Idaho confronted after their son Riley was diagnosed in October 2012 with the blood disorder aplastic anemia, in which the body’s … Read more

What’s the Link Between Cancer and Pesticides?

A study that found a sharply higher rate of breast cancer in women exposed to the pesticide DDT while in the womb has drawn renewed attention to the relationship between pesticide and herbicide exposure and cancer. The study, published earlier this year, tracked nearly 15,000 mothers, daughters, and granddaughters living in the San Francisco Bay … Read more

New Treatment Option for Patients with Rare Blood Cancer

It’s commonly thought that targeted therapy for cancer requires the development of separate drugs for each type and subtype of cancer. The recent approval of the drug ibrutinib (Imbruvica®), however, for Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (a rare form of lymphoma) shows the opposite to be true: a single agent can be effective against multiple types of cancers, providing … Read more