Venetoclax Combinations 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

Patient Living Life Despite Leukemia and COVID-19

Tim O’Neill likes to keep moving — whether on his boat, his motorcycle, in his running shoes, or while steering an RV across 47 states. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has failed to stop him from these pursuits, and he’s determined not to let a pandemic do so either. “I’m more careful these days because of … Continued

What Are the Differences Between Lymphocytic and Myelogenous Leukemia?

Medically reviewed by Martha Wadleigh, MD Leukemia arises from malfunctions in stem cells within the bone marrow that cause abnormal white blood cells to flood into the bloodstream. Leukemias are classified as either myelogenous (also called myeloid) or lymphocytic, depending on which types of white blood cells are affected. What is the difference between these types … Continued

Adult Leukemia: What You Need to Know

More than 60,000 new cases of adult leukemia are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Although it is one of the more common childhood cancers, leukemia occurs more often in older adults. How does leukemia develop in adults? Leukemia is a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues that results in large numbers of abnormal or immature white blood … Continued

Resistance to Targeted Leukemia Drug Lurks in Cells’ “Powerhouse”

Medically reviewed by Catherine J. Wu, MD Within every human cell, a fateful balance prevails. The mitochondria — where nutrients from food are converted into fuel for the cell — serve as a kind of jury box where pro-survival proteins contend with proteins that favor cell death. In the ebb and flow of these proteins, … Continued

New Options for First-Line Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Brown, MD Most patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) now have several options for first-line therapy, thanks to new clinical trial results and novel targeted agents. Many patients with CLL, a slowly progressive blood cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells, don’t need immediate treatment but … Continued

New Study Reports “Curative Potential” of a Combination Therapy for Some Leukemia Patients

Medically reviewed by Matthew Davids, MD, MMSc Chemoimmunotherapy combined with a targeted drug given for two years has achieved undetectable minimal residual disease (MRD) for a high proportion of younger patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Dana-Farber scientists report. The phase 2 clinical trial results are so favorable that they represent a step toward “a … Continued

New therapies spark leap in treatment of AML in adults

In just over a year, the treatment of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in adult patients has undergone something of a revolution. Since mid-2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved nine new targeted therapies for the disease, in contrast to none during the previous 12 years. The approvals amount to a “game-changer for how … Continued

How are bispecific antibodies being used to treat blood cancers?

Many of the immunotherapy drugs that are transforming the treatment of certain types of cancer are based on antibodies — artificial proteins that latch onto a molecular target, called an antigen. Bispecific antibodies, which can bind to two antigens at the same time, are being tested and moving toward clinical use in some blood cancers. … Continued

Scan Anxiety (or ‘Scanxiety’): 5 Approaches to Coping

Irritability, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, and nausea are common symptoms many patients experience when preparing for an upcoming exam. This feeling of apprehension and discomfort is called scanxiety, which aptly refers to the anxiety or worry patients often feel before undergoing a scan or receiving the results of an examination. “Anxiety often comes when … Continued

Three-Time Cancer Survivor Becomes Two-Time Marathon Runner

This was not how she expected her first marathon to go. 15.5 miles into the race, Mary Shertenlieb stood shivering in the lobby of a Dunkin’ Donuts. For hours, the three-time cancer survivor had been battling driving rains, punishing winds, and unrelenting cold weather in order to cross the finish line of the 2018 Boston … Continued

Immunotherapy for Adult Leukemia: What’s New?

As scientists have learned more about the intricate workings of the immune system, they’ve developed new forms of immunotherapy that have been approved for the treatment of leukemia or are being clinically tested in patients.

Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy: What Does “Chimeric” Mean?

One of the most exciting new cancer treatments, CAR T-cell therapy takes its complicated name, in part, from a fire-breathing monster in an ancient Greek myth. CAR is an acronym for “chimeric antigen receptor,” referring to genetically engineered molecules manufactured in a laboratory, inserted into the genetic material of immune T cells that have been … Continued

CAR T-Cell Therapy: Is It Right For You?

CAR T-cell therapy is a cancer treatment in which a patient’s immune system T cells are genetically modified to mount a more effective attack on cancer. As of May 2018, CAR T-cell therapy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as standard therapy for some adult patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma that has relapsed after … Continued

Stem Cell Transplant Recipient Celebrates 20 Years of Life with Caregivers

Twenty years to the day after undergoing the stem cell transplant that saved him, Todd Ellison reunited with the Dana-Farber caregivers who changed his life – in more ways than one. Ellison, who was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in his early 20s, shared handshakes and “thank you” cake with his doctors Joseph Antin, … Continued