Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia: What to Know

Drugs known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors, or TKIs, have revolutionized the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a type of cancer in which the bone marrow produces too many semi-mature white blood cells. Prior to the introduction of these drugs in the early 2000s, standard first-line treatments for the disease reduced CML levels in only … Read more

Refractory Cancer: What It Is and How It Is Treated

What does “refractory” mean medically? The word “refractory” in general use means stubborn or intractable, and in medicine it is specifically applied to disease that does not respond to treatment. Refractory cancer refers to cancer that may be resistant to initial therapy or becomes resistant during treatment. “We would consider disease refractory if doesn’t respond … Read more

Study Explores Inequities in Acute Leukemia Clinical Trial Participation

While some racial and ethnic groups have been underrepresented in clinical trials of therapies for lung cancer, breast cancer and other malignancies, researchers speculated that the situation might be different for adult leukemia trials. The unique features of the disease — the speed with which it needs to be treated after diagnosis, the delivery of … Read more

Specially Equipped Natural Killer Cells Show Promise Against Form of AML

CAR T cells’ superpower is to identify cancer-related targets on the surface of tumor cells and order an attack on those cells. But they lack anything resembling X-ray vision to detect nefarious protein targets within tumor cells. That shortfall has limited their effectiveness in diseases like acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), in which tumor cells display few surface … Read more

Advances in Myeloma, Breast Cancer, and Clinical Trials Equity: A Dana-Farber Research Update

Results of several phase 3 trials and dozens of other studies led by Dana-Farber researchers were presented online and in person June 3-7 at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world’s largest clinical cancer research meeting. Some of the research reports presented by Dana-Farber investigators include: Improved progression-free … Read more

Stem Cell Transplant Gives MDS Patient a Second Chance at Life

Every year, Nancy Demers celebrates two birthdays. The first marks the day she was born: August 6, 1943. The second — March 20, 2015 — is the day the then-71-year-old Connecticut resident received a stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center and the start of a healthy new life. Eighteen months prior, in September … Read more

Hemoglobin and Cancer: What’s the Connection?

Hemoglobin is an essential protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body’s organs and tissues and transports carbon dioxide from your organs and tissues back to your lungs.  Is hemoglobin affected by cancer?  Anemia is essentially a blood condition marked by a low level of hemoglobin and red blood cells, and in some cases can be … Read more

Earlier Use of CAR T-Cell Therapy Approved for Relapsed Large B-cell Lymphoma Patients

Patients with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) who did not respond to initial treatment or relapsed within a year may now receive the CAR T-cell product axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) as a second-line therapy, following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on results of a recent clinical trial. Until now, the standard of … Read more

Seeking Stem Cell Transplant, Basketball Expert Makes Slam Dunk Decision

As an economist specializing in statistical analysis, Dan Rosenbaum has done everything from help the federal government use more evidence in its decision-making to assist several National Basketball Association (NBA) teams in finding and signing the best players. Research and number-crunching are his expertise, so when Rosenbaum learned he needed a life-saving stem cell transplant … Read more

High School Basketball Coach has a New Perspective on Life After a Successful Stem Cell Transplant

For Duane Witter, the most difficult part of his cancer treatment was recovering from his stem cell transplant and having to step away from teaching and coaching high school basketball in Farmington, CT. “Before all this, I used to say that my superpower was to never miss a day of school,” he says. “Stepping away … Read more

Research Sheds More Light on Mechanisms Causing Rare Leukemia BPDCN

A rare leukemia called BPDCN (blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm) is three to four times more common in people with one X chromosome, for reasons that hadn’t been clear. Now, however, research led by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists has identified a genetic factor that appears to explain a large part of the discrepancy, and also … Read more

For Sisters, Myeloma Study is a Promise Kept

At Carolyn Kershaw and Darlene Musso’s first visit to Dana-Farber in July, Irene Ghobrial, MD, greeted them with some unexpected news. “We walked in and she said, ‘Did you know you two are famous in our lab?’” Kershaw recounts. Their local renown stems from their participation in the PROMISE study at Dana-Farber’s Center for the Prevention of Progression (CPOP), which … Read more

Venetoclax Added to Chemotherapy Improves Outcomes in Type of Leukemia

Adding the BCL-2 inhibitor drug venetoclax to a combination chemotherapy regimen significantly improved outcomes in Richter’s syndrome, a rare but deadly complication that develops in some patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), according to a study led by Dana-Farber investigators. The addition of the targeted drug venetoclax to a chemo regimen called R-EPOCH yielded the … Read more

Targeted Drug Found Effective as Initial Treatment for Waldenström Macroglobulinemia

When a clinical trial showed the targeted drug ibrutinib to be highly effective in patients with a form of lymphoma called Waldenström macroglobulinemia, the results were so compelling that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for all patients with the disease, even though the trial included only patients previously treated with other … Read more

Anti-Microbial Drug Targets Key Driver of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Dana-Farber scientists have found that a generic anti-microbial drug can block a key molecular driver of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells, and when tested in a small clinical trial of advanced CLL patients who had relapsed, the drug slowed disease progression in half of them. The drug, pyrimethamine, achieved stable disease in eight of the … Read more