Bone Cancer in Children: What are the Latest Treatment Options?

Medically reviewed by Katherine A. Janeway, MD Cancer affecting the bones may be primary (a cancer that develops within the bone) or metastatic (spreading to bones from elsewhere in the body). Many primary bone tumors are benign (noncancerous), but others are malignant. Treatment options for bone tumors include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, cryosurgery (freezing cancer … Continued

Drug Shows Promise as First Definitive Treatment for Rare Anemia

Medically reviewed by Rachael Grace, MD In the mid-1960s, David G. Nathan, MD, president emeritus of Dana-Farber and, at that time, a hematologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, published some of the first reports on a rare, inherited type of anemia caused by the breakdown of red blood cells because of a lack of a key … Continued

How Families are Reshaping Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome Research

This article originally appeared on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. No one knew the heartache about to unfold when Savannah and Brett Lillywhite first began thinking about having a family 10 years ago. The Lillywhites Savannah and Brett are both the unlikely carriers of a rare condition called Shwachman-Diamond syndrome — SDS for short — … Continued

Pediatric Cancer Survivor Begins Road to Recovery

At just 14 years old, Kaitlyn Vu was asked to accept a drastic, life-altering surgery. In early 2019, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma — a rare type of bone cancer that ultimately led to the amputation of her left foot. Kaitlyn’s ability to meet each challenge of her diagnosis with a combination of grace and … Continued

While Enjoying College, Ewing Sarcoma Survivor Looks to Her Past

It lacks sunsets and skylines, but Maddie Carlson loves the view from her dorm room at Emmanuel College in Boston. If the 20-year-old junior sticks her head out the window at just the right angle, she can almost make out a portion of the place she credits for saving her life after she was diagnosed … Continued

Teen Cancer Survivor Rediscovers Her Confidence

At just 18 years old, Gabbi Stewart is a two-time survivor of two very different types of cancer. While her care team acted quickly to aggressively treat her most recent cancer, Stewart was faced with what she says was her greatest challenge: building back up the self-confidence the disease had eroded. A rare diagnosis In … Continued

CAR T-Cell Therapy for Pediatric Patients: The Latest Updates

Since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the fall of 2017, a form of the powerful and promising therapy known as CAR T-cell therapy has been used to treat certain young patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who have relapsed or didn’t respond to standard regimens. Today, researchers … Continued

Pediatric Kidney Cancer Survivor Pays it Forward

Three-year-old Lia Scagnoli skipped across the “Bridge of Hope” connecting Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute each time she had a chemotherapy infusion or other treatment for pediatric kidney cancer at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. Caregivers offering equal parts love, hope, and fun diversions gave her and her family a feeling of confidence that … Continued

Immunotherapy for Pediatric Solid Tumors: What’s the Latest?

Medically reviewed by Natalie Collins, MD, PhD New treatments that spur the immune system against cancer have entered the clinic to combat some forms of pediatric blood cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). One form of immunotherapy, CAR T cells, has been approved for children and young adults with ALL. In treating solid tumors … Continued

Exploring Targeted Treatments for Children with Low-Grade Brain Tumors

A version of this article was published on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. Children diagnosed with low-grade astrocytomas, the most common type of pediatric brain tumor, have more than a 90 percent chance of being cured. Yet in the process, the standard treatments (neurosurgery and chemotherapy) for this form of tumor can cause serious … Continued

What’s New in the Treatment of Pediatric Leukemia?

Medically reviewed by Lewis Silverman, MD A greater understanding of the genomics of pediatric leukemia — the genetic errors and irregularities that underlie the disease — has enabled researchers to divide the disease into additional subtypes. This has improved physicians’ ability to identify patients with an increased risk of relapse and to prescribe treatments to … Continued

Single-Cell Sequencing Reveals Glioblastoma’s Shape-Shifting Nature

This post was originally published on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. Glioblastoma, a cancer that arises in the brain’s supporting glial cells, is one of the worst diagnoses a child can receive. The grade IV, highly malignant tumor aggressively infiltrates healthy brain tissue, and most children die of the disease within one to … Continued

Tips for Managing Your Child’s Treatment-Related Nausea

Medically reviewed by Kristen Uhl, PhD Treatment-induced nausea is an unpleasant side effect that can occur before, during, or after cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Antiemetic medications are typically used to treat nausea and vomiting, but there are other strategies that can help. Kristen Uhl, PhD, of Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s … Continued

What is Aplastic Anemia and How Is It Treated?

Aplastic anemia is a rare but serious blood disorder that occurs when the body’s bone marrow cannot produce enough healthy blood cells to function properly. Aplastic anemia can occur in both children and adults. Most cases of aplastic anemia are idiopathic, meaning the underlying cause is unknown. The blood disorder can have inherited (genetic) causes … Continued

Limb-Salvage Surgery Proves Hole-in-One Decision for Pediatric Cancer Survivor

It was quite a spring for Andrew Hedberg. The rising high school sophomore made the varsity golf team and was elected class president for the upcoming school year. Most importantly, the bone cancer that once threatened his left leg and his life remained in remission. All of this validated the decision that Andrew’s family made … Continued

Which Genetic Syndromes Can Increase a Child’s Risk of Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Junne Kamihara, MD, PhD Inherited cancers account for at least 5 to 10 percent of all pediatric cancers. The same advances in technology that have enabled scientists to decode the human genome now allow doctors to determine when a child has been born with an error (mutation) in a specific gene that … Continued

8 Common Childhood Cancer Myths and Questions

Childhood cancer is rare, but when it happens, it usually brings up an endless stream of questions for parents. How did this happen? What will life be like for my child? In this episode of Cancer Mythbusters from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, we talk about some of the most common questions and myths about childhood cancer … Continued

Pediatric Cancer Survivor Still Flourishing a Half-Century Later

When Susan Villanueva was just 11 months old, she was diagnosed with cancer. It took her a long time to come to grips with her experience — but more than 50 years later, she is serving as inspiration for patients, survivors, and beyond. In 1969, Villanueva was originally taken to the hospital to address symptoms … Continued

What is Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome and How is it Treated?

Classified as a form of bone marrow failure, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) is a rare, inherited condition that is usually diagnosed in children but is increasingly diagnosed in adults. The frequency of SDS is unclear, but is estimated to affect about one in 75,000 people. SDS is characterized by inadequate production of pancreatic enzymes, which are … Continued

What is the Difference Between Gene Therapy and Immunotherapy?

Gene therapy and immunotherapy are both types of treatment for cancer and other diseases, and they have some points at which they intersect. But ultimately they represent different approaches to disease therapy. Most diseases aren’t caused by a single mutant gene — an alteration in the DNA sequence — but some mainly rare, inherited disorders, … Continued