Researchers Solve Mystery of Retinoic Acid’s Potency Against High-Risk Neuroblastoma

For decades, retinoic acid has been a key part of the arsenal against the childhood cancer neuroblastoma. For just as long, scientists have wondered exactly how it works. The answer, Dana-Farber researchers have found, is by reprogramming the activity of two crucial pairs of genes with such precision that the drug almost seems to have … 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

Overriding Resistance to Epigenetic Inhibitors in Neuroblastoma: Targeting PI3K

This post originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s science and clinical innovation blog. Children’s cancers pose unique challenges. They’re not caused by the same kinds of genetic mutations that cause adult cancers, and only a minority of their mutations can be targeted with drugs. In a recent study, Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer … Read more

Now in Remission, Pediatric Cancer Patient is Inspiration for Her Family

Kids often rely on their parents for inspiration, but for Kevin and Becky McAvoy, it’s their five-year-old daughter Avery who provides the spark. Avery was less than a year old when she was diagnosed with metastatic neuroblastoma, the most common type of cancer in infants. Her cancer contained an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) mutation. The … Read more

Forty-Two Years in Remission, Neuroblastoma Survivor is Grateful For Her “Miracle Children”

When Jessica Audette looks at her daughter, Samantha, and son, Jacob, she finds herself overwhelmed by feelings of love, pride, and joy. And there’s a reason she refers to them as her “miracle children”—Audette is a neuroblastoma survivor, and it wasn’t always clear that she would be able to have kids. In 1974, a pediatrician … Read more

Taking A Sideswipe at High-Risk Neuroblastoma

This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. Cancer and other diseases are now understood to spring from a complex interplay of biological factors rather than any one isolated origin. New research reveals that an equally-nuanced approach to treating high-risk neuroblastoma may be the most effective way to curb tumor growth. One challenge in … Read more

What Is Neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma is a cancerous tumor found in young children and infants, most commonly in children under age 5 and rarely in those older than 10. Approximately 650 children in the United States are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year. What causes neuroblastoma? The cause of neuroblastoma is not certain, but researchers believe it forms from neuroblasts, … Read more

New Treatment Protocol Boosts Survival in Pediatric Neuroblastoma Patients

When Emily Coughlin complained of a sore knee in May 2009, doctors initially suspected Lyme disease. After antibiotics failed to relieve the pain, the girl, who was just shy of her fourth birthday, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer that begins in nerve cells outside the brain and usually affects children under 6. Though rare … Read more

Young Neuroblastoma Patient and Family Make New Home at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s

Bridgette West sparkled last fall in the “Fight Song” music video created by patients at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. But before the 2-year-old became a social media standout with her dancing, she and her family faced challenges that went far beyond a cancer diagnosis. In the summer of 2015, after struggling for … Read more

Meet Henry: a cancer survivor who was diagnosed before he was born

Henry Fenollosa’s problems began before he was born, when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. His infancy was was spent largely at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, where he received treatment for his disease with his family looking on. Today, Henry’s an active seven-year-old, who loves to show off his lacrosse stickhandling abilities and his skill on … Read more