Clinical Trials and the Future of Lymphoma Treatment

Current lymphoma therapies are a far cry from the mustard gas used more than 50 years ago. More treatment options, including ones that may be more effective and less toxic, are being studied in ongoing clinical trials.

“Clinical trials really are the future of lymphoma treatment,” says Ann LaCasce, MD, a medical oncologist in the Adult Lymphoma Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

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Marine Conquers Leukemia with Support from Family and the Massachusetts State Police

This Veteran’s Day, Dana-Farber thanks our patients, survivors, families, and friends who have served or are serving in the armed forces, including survivors Stacey Carroll, Ben Groen, and Tim Crowley, who tells his story below.

In June 2010, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a fast-moving disease where too many immature white blood cells are present in the blood and bone marrow, after doctors found abnormalities in routine blood work for the Marines. My wife, Julie, and I were in shock. We had just celebrated Father’s Day with our two young children, Jack and Kate, and now we would be spending the foreseeable future at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

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An Overview of Lymphoma Therapy

More than 70 years ago, two pharmacologists began looking at mustard gas as a possible treatment for lymphoma. The chemical, used during World War I, lowered blood counts and destroyed lymph nodes in soldiers who were exposed to the gas.

Two decades after the war, a thoracic surgeon named Gustav Lindskog used nitrogen mustard to successfully treat a patient with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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Black Hawk Pilot Ben Groen battles lymphoma diagnosis

New Year’s Eve 2010. In a military hospital in Hawaii with much of the staff away for the holidays, Army pilot Ben Groen learned he’d been diagnosed with T cell lymphoblastic non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare, aggressive cancer of the white blood cells and lymph nodes. His doctor told him that his treatment – which would need to begin almost immediately and require months of hospitalization – would exceed the capacity of the base’s blood bank.

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Blood cancer research may lead to new treatments

At this year’s American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting, Dana-Farber scientists presented major findings that could one day improve diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers, extend life, or even cure some diseases. Among the highlights: Steven Treon, MD, PhD, and his colleagues identified a gene mutation that underlies the vast majority of cases of Waldenström’s … Read more