Targeted Agent Shows Early Promise Against a Dangerous Infant Leukemia

Leukemias involving reshuffling or rearrangement of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene, known as MLL-rearranged or MLL-r leukemias, account for 70 to 80 percent of acute leukemias in infants under one year old. In these blood cancers, a subset of acute myeloid and acute lymphoid leukemias (AML and ALL), the MLL gene breaks and reattaches to the wrong section … Continued

Looking for Cancer’s Achilles Heel: The Pediatric Cancer Dependency Map

Thanks to developments in precision medicine, some adult cancers are now treated with designer drugs that target the genetic mutations that caused them. But most children with cancer have not reaped the same benefits. Unlike adult cancers, childhood cancers carry few genetic mutations. And the mutations these tumors do have are typically harder to make … Continued

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 … Continued

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 … Continued

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 — … Continued

Medulloblastoma Patient Ready to Be a Positive Light for Others

Erica Domeier thought she would be preparing for her upcoming graduation and making plans for her final summer before college in June 2014. Instead, the 17-year-old was in the hospital, having recently been diagnosed with brain cancer. It was the beginning of what would be a difficult road for Domeier. But today, because of her … Continued

Targeted Therapies Help Teen Keep Spindle Cell Sarcoma in Control

At 4:00 a.m. on a mid-March morning, while most of the country was hunkering down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer Huber began the long drive from her home in the Hudson Valley Region of New York to Boston. With her was her 14-year-old daughter, Emma Levine, who was suffering from excruciating headaches caused by … Continued

Osteosarcoma Patient Gets Chance to Be ‘Normal College Kid’

For almost half of his life, Michael Murray has had to grapple with cancer, including multiple relapses. One of his hardest setbacks was hearing that his cancer had returned just weeks before he was set to start his freshman year at Boston College. With the news, Murray worried that his future would be in jeopardy. … Continued

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 … Continued

Young Dancer Stays on Toes During Rare Kidney Cancer Treatment

Carly Tobin loves dancing for the fun and freedom it provides. During treatment for a rare pediatric kidney cancer known as Wilms tumor, the pre-teen’s passion also proved a vital source of strength. Diagnosed in early June 2019, Carly — now 11 and cancer-free — underwent surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and … Continued

CAR T-Cell Therapy Helps Young Hockey Fan Ice Pediatric Leukemia

Due to COVID-19, Ava Girolimetti doesn’t know if she will be starting middle school this September in a classroom, on a computer screen, or a combination of both. But thanks to CAR T-cell therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), she plans to be there cancer-free. The rising sixth grader can make this claim as one … Continued

Kids ‘Move Forward With Lives’ After Bone Cancer Surgery

Nolan and Natasha might never have met if they hadn’t been diagnosed with bone cancer. Nolan, 13, is a natural athlete who lives in Maine. Natasha, 11, lives in Rhode Island and loves music and theater. As kids go, the two are pretty different — except for their osteosarcoma diagnoses and the surgery they received … Continued

Is it Safe for Me or My Child to Get Cancer Vaccinations During COVID-19?

Vaccines play a vital role in helping to keep us safe. They work by introducing our bodies to a weakened or modified version of a particular virus (such as measles, mumps, etc.). This allows our immune system to produce antibodies — proteins used by the immune system to attack and destroy foreign substances — in … Continued

Researchers Eye Potential New Treatment for Telomere Diseases

For years, Donna Martin carried a piece of scrap paper with the words “dyskeratosis congenita,” which she believed might explain her son Brad’s sudden, mysterious affliction. A routine blood test had revealed Brad’s bone marrow was failing, unable to keep up with his need for healthy blood cells. His condition, Donna knew, would worsen over … Continued

The Impact of COVID-19 on Childhood Cancer Research

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, labs across the world have been in lockdown, while researchers eagerly prepare to return to work when it is safe to do so. Three cancer researchers at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center share some of the experiences and challenges they’ve faced during COVID-19, as well as … Continued

Cancer Won’t Stop Me, And Neither Will COVID-19

By Ben Lepper Most people my age look at COVID-19 as a burden on their everyday lives of seeing friends, hanging out, and going to college. I see it differently.    As an active cancer patient being treated for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), I am immunocompromised. This puts me at especially high risk for … Continued

Childhood Cancer Patients and the Coronavirus: Common Questions Answered

How does a person get coronavirus?  Coronavirus is spread primarily by exposure to respiratory droplets that are generated when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. If these droplets come in contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth of another person, infection can develop.  Infected droplets can remain active on surfaces for some time. This can happen, for … Continued

‘Evan Will Get Through This’: One Mother’s Perspective

On June 16, 2019, our 4-year-old son, Evan, fell off a jungle gym at daycare. At first, his daycare provider thought he was fine. He got right up and seemed to recover. She called me and we agreed to watch him to see if there were any changes. A couple hours later, Evan started throwing … Continued

Could Leukemia Be Stopped Before It Starts? Researchers Aim to Find Out

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a blood cancer affecting both adults and children, requires more than one genetic “hit” to develop. As we age, many of us acquire a mutation that enables certain of our blood cells to multiply faster than others, forming their own distinct population. This first hit, known as “clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate … Continued