Immunotherapy is ‘Game-Changing’ for Metastatic Melanoma Patient

By the time Barry O’Brien learned he had stage IV melanoma, in April 2020, the skin cancer that had been halted once before had advanced far from its original spot on his shoulder. He was in need of immediate neurosurgery to remove a pair of tumors in his brain, and with the COVID-19 pandemic surging … Continued

Stem Cell Donor Reflects on His Opportunity to ‘Be the Match’

When Kevin Hoyle found out he was a match for a blood cancer patient in need of a stem cell transplant in 2015, he felt surprisingly uncomfortable — not from fear of the procedure, but because he didn’t feel he deserved the opportunity.   “I’m just an ordinary guy,” he thought. “Why should I have the honor of being able to offer someone a possibly life-altering scenario?”   … Continued

What are Indolent Lymphomas and How Are They Treated?

Indolent lymphomas are types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that grow and spread slowly. They account for about 40% of all NHL cases in the United States and generally arise later in life. Treatment for indolent lymphomas depends on a variety of factors, including the type and stage of the disease (how far it has advanced). … Continued

Signs and Symptoms of Blood Cancers

Blood cancers (or hematologic cancers) are diseases that originate in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow or cells within in the immune system. There are three main types of blood cancers: Leukemia: cancer that originates in the body’s blood-forming tissues, such as the bone marrow. The disease causes large numbers of myeloid blood cells … Continued

Combination Immunotherapy Holds Promise for Patients with Rare Bladder Cancer

A woman recently came to Bradley McGregor, MD, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in severe pain with extreme fatigue. Her squamous cell bladder cancer, a rare type for which traditional treatment is generally less effective, had advanced, and it appeared that she had no other options. But timing is everything. McGregor was conducting a … Continued

Acute Leukemia Diagnosis: What to Know and Expect

Treatment for acute forms of adult leukemia has advanced markedly since the days when all patients generally received the same course of treatment. A patient’s age and overall health, the type of leukemia he or she has, and the goal of therapy all influence the treatment plan. What are the types of acute leukemia? There … Continued

CAR T-Cell Therapy Offers Lymphoma Patient Renewed Hope

Tiffany “Tiff” Trant couldn’t help but smile. All three of her children were home, and the family was deciding on dinner and a group activity. They thought about working on a puzzle, sitting down for their reoccurring poker game, or just spending the night talking. These simple pleasures have gained new meaning ever since Trant … Continued

BPDCN: What’s the Latest in Treatment and Research?

What is BPDCN? Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) is a rare but aggressive blood cancer that can affect the skin, blood, and bone marrow. It has characteristics similar to leukemias and lymphomas, but almost always first appears as lesions in the skin. What are the treatment options for BPDCN? The first drug that was … Continued

With Help of Care Team, Patient Looks to Future During COVID-19

In 2018, Christine “Chris” Colpitt, 66, was feeling incredibly tired. The year didn’t start that way, but by May, Colpitt was finding it difficult to summon the strength to get out of her chair. Unsure of the root of her symptoms, her primary care physician asked her to come in for bloodwork. The results indicated … Continued

The Latest Efforts in Precision Oncology for Advanced Prostate Cancer

The management of advanced prostate cancer is rapidly evolving with the application of precision treatments based on genomic testing of tumors’ altered DNA. With recent biomarker-driven drug approvals and increased clinical use of genomic testing, there are a number of opportunities to expand upon this framework. Researchers are calling for increased collaboration and new strategies. … Continued

Liposarcoma: What Is It and How Is It Treated?

Cancers known as sarcomas develop in the connective tissues, such as muscle, fat, and bone, that hold the body together. Liposarcomas originate from immature fat cells that develop abnormally into cancerous fatty growth as a result of errors that can develop in its genes.   Sarcomas are rare, accounting for about 1% of cancers in … Continued

Lung Cancer Patient Draws on Unwavering Strength in the Face of Uncertainty

When looking for inspiration, Saila Hanninen needs only to glance at her left wrist. Tattooed there is the Finnish word “jaksaa” (pronounced YÄK SAH), roughly translating to “strength.” Jaksaa, however, is about more than just physical strength: It’s about fortitude, endurance, mental toughness, and a willingness to keep going when the odds are against you. … Continued

What You Should Know About Appendix Cancer

Appendix cancer, or appendiceal cancer, is an incredibly rare cancer, occurring in roughly one person out of every 100,000. Despite its rarity, appendiceal tumors come in a variety of forms and presents very differently from person to person. There are treatment options for appendiceal cancer, and it usually comes with a relatively good prognosis. Here, … Continued

Mother of Three and Patient with Lung Cancer Embraces Stability

It was an otherwise normal Saturday night for Amy Neary: She was on her way to a hockey game with her husband, their three kids, and a friend. Neary had had a minor headache earlier in the day, but a few Advil cleared that right up. Then, all of a sudden as they were driving, … Continued

Study Identifies Genes That Help Drive Growth in Melanoma Subtypes

Favoritism or impartiality? Do the four genomic subtypes of melanoma have a bias toward certain mutated genes and gene pathways, or do they welcome all mutations equally? Answering that question has been especially difficult because of cutaneous melanoma’s high mutation rate — the profusion of misspelled, severed, out-of-place, missing-in-action, or overabundant genes found in melanoma … Continued

Couple with Cancer Gets Strength From Each Other and Care Teams

Husband and wife Ken Deutsch and Amy Green like to say they’re now “chasing the tail” of the bell curve. They have each had to grapple with cancer, as well as multiple setbacks and even recurrences. However, thanks to the care they’ve received at Dana-Farber — along with the support they’ve had from each other … Continued

Drugs Targeting a Pathway in Glioblastoma Must Clear a High Bar, Study Suggests

Researchers had every reason to expect that a compound called BKM120 (also known as buparlisib) would stifle glioblastoma brain tumors lacking the protein PTEN. After all, it was known to block the tumor-promoting PI3K protein and could easily pass through the blood-brain barrier — the dense layer of cells that guards entry to the brain … Continued

Venetoclax Combination Approved for Older Patients with AML

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a novel targeted drug to treat acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in older patients, a segment of the blood cancer population in dire need of improved therapies. In a phase 3 clinical trial, researchers showed that the oral drug, venetoclax (or Venclexta), when given along with azacitidine, could … Continued

The Latest Advances in Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Although ovarian cancer is among the most difficult cancers to treat when not caught in its earliest stages, treatment advances are extending the lives, and improving the quality of life, of many patients. “Ovarian cancer research and treatment continue to grow. There are so many resources available and we are no longer committed to just … Continued

Tips for Coping With a COVID-19 Surge

Many countries, states, cities, and towns are experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases. Others are preparing for that possibility. This development has introduced more uncertainty and stress to an already difficult situation. “A rise in cases can make it harder for people to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” explains Stephanie Tung, … Continued