What Causes Bone Cancer?

Cancers originating in the bone, called primary bone cancers, are rare and account for less than 1% of all cancers. There are numerous types of primary bone cancers, and in most cases, the cause isn’t known. Primary bone tumors can have changes in the DNA of the cancer cells, but those DNA changes are acquired … Read more

Teenager Gets Back to ‘Regular Life’ After Cancer Treatment

How did teenager Noah Zierfus stay grounded in the face of a cancer diagnosis? With his perfect trifecta of family, friends, and football. The Springfield, Vermont native was a junior in high school when he noticed he had something like a cyst. The doctors told him it was nothing at first, but Noah and his … Read more

For Families of Children with Cancer, A New Focus on Hereditary Risk

Widespread testing of pediatric tumors has confirmed a long-held suspicion: far more of them have hereditary roots than was once thought. Physicians and researchers now estimate that at least 10% of cancers in children and adolescents, and probably many more, are linked to hereditary genetic mutations that increase cancer risk. The findings have changed the … Read more

After Wilms Tumor Treatment, First Grade is First Rate for Pediatric Cancer Survivor

The last two school years will be remembered for the tremendous challenges they presented students due to COVID-19, but rising second-grader Caroline McMahan and her family were ready for the pandemic’s limitations after what they had already endured. By the time the pandemic began, Caroline, 7, was already adept at washing up, masking up, and … Read more

Newborn Genetic Screening for Pediatric Cancer Risk Could Save Lives

Numerous genetic mutations increase children’s risk for various cancers. When they are detected early, cancers can potentially be caught at an early, more treatable stage — or avoided entirely. Could adding such “cancer predisposition” genes to routine newborn “heel-stick” screening save lives? Lisa Diller, MD, chief medical officer at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood … Read more

Cancer Care in Transgender Youth Patients: Things to Consider

Increasingly, transgender youth and adults are undergoing (or planning) gender-affirming surgery and taking masculinizing or feminizing hormones. If they have cancer, these treatments can have implications for their care, and cancer treatments in turn can have implications for their gender-affirming care. Oncologists should take gender identity into account in making decisions about cancer treatment. This … Read more

Innovative Gene Editing Could Cure Severe Congenital Neutropenia

Fionn Mulrooney, a cheerful 11-month-old, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, has no idea he has a life-threatening genetic disease. Nor does he seem fazed by the daily subcutaneous injections his parents have learned how to give him. And little does he know that cells from his bone marrow are helping scientists develop an innovative gene-editing approach that … Read more

‘They’re Always There’: Emotional Support for Childhood Cancer Patients and Parents at Dana-Farber

When Samantha Price’s four-year-old daughter, Shelby, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) in October 2019, Price had so many questions about what the future held for both of them. What would the highs and lows of treatment look and feel like for Shelby, and how could she best care for her daughter throughout the … Read more

Neuroblastoma Patient Exudes Untold Strength

Call it mother’s intuition, but leading up to her daughter’s cancer diagnosis, Erica Jensen knew something wasn’t right. At just 10 months, Charlee had started walking, and since taking her first steps the excited toddler was constantly exploring the world around her. Then, at around 15 months, something changed. It wasn’t obvious at first — … Read more

Diving Into Ependymomas, Hard-to-Treat Pediatric Brain Tumors

Ependymomas are some of the most difficult-to-treat brain tumors. Mariella Filbin, MD, PhD, a neuro-oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, is driven by a desire to find new therapies for these pediatric brain tumors. At the core of her work is an effort to uncover the events that shape tumor development. Defining how … Read more