Basic Science Discovery Leads to Clinical Trial for Patients with Chemotherapy-Resistant Form of Ovarian Cancer

Dana-Farber scientists recently uncovered a potential vulnerability in a form of ovarian cancer notoriously resistant to chemotherapy. Now they’ve opened a clinical trial involving a drug that targets that susceptibility in patients with the disease. The impetus for their research is a type of ovarian cancer with excess copies of the cyclinE1 gene (abbreviated CCNE1). … 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

Research Clears Up Mystery About Most Common Cancer Gene

Medically reviewed by Benjamin Ebert, MD, PhD In the rogue’s gallery of cancer mutations, the Most Wanted are found in TP53, the most frequently mutated gene in cancer and in some ways the most ominous. In patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or a myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), for example, the presence of a TP53 mutation … Continued

Making the Immune System Work Against Cancer: A Pioneering Researcher’s Journey

Bone marrow transplantation, which was first developed in the 1970s, was conceived as a way of dealing with the effects of high-dose chemotherapy for leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. The large doses killed diseased blood cells throughout the body but also destroyed the bone marrow, birthplace of new blood cells. By transplanting bone marrow … Continued

Grandfather Gets Back to Life and Nature after CAR T-Cell Therapy for Lymphoma

Jerry Jalbert is always up for new adventures. He did not expect that non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) would be one of them, but with the help of CAR T-cell therapy that keeps his cancer at bay, the 73-year-old professional photographer-turned-baker-turned-forest checkpoint operator is continuing to enjoy life’s many journeys alongside his wife, Ethel. “We are not … 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

For Father with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, CAR T-Cell Therapy Saves Memories and More

In May 2018, Tyler Goodwin underwent CAR T-cell therapy for follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). While he was having preparatory chemotherapy for the procedure, a surprise visitor to his hospital bedside provided a powerful reminder of why this promising new cancer treatment was so important to him. “It was my daughter Theresa, all made up for … Continued

New Study Reports “Curative Potential” of a Combination Therapy for Some Leukemia Patients

Medically reviewed by Matthew Davids, MD, MMSc Chemoimmunotherapy combined with a targeted drug given for two years has achieved undetectable minimal residual disease (MRD) for a high proportion of younger patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Dana-Farber scientists report. The phase 2 clinical trial results are so favorable that they represent a step toward “a … Continued

Study Implicates Failure of DNA Damage Repair in BRCA1 Breast Cancer

Medically reviewed by David Livingston, MD It’s been known for decades that a mutated BRCA1 gene in a woman’s breast cells sharply increases her lifetime risk of breast cancer. What has eluded scientists, however, is a detailed understanding of how the loss of BRCA1 function leads normal breast cells down the path to malignancy. Now, … 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

Scientists Identify Genes Tied to Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Medically reviewed by Alexander Gusev, PhD A team of Dana-Farber scientists and their associates has identified 34 genes associated with an increased risk of developing earliest-stage ovarian cancer. The findings, published in the journal Nature Genetics, will both help identify women who have the highest risk of developing ovarian cancer and pave the way for identifying … Continued

Double Strike Against Tumor Protein Shows Promise in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Medically reviewed by Pasi A Jänne, MD, PhD Imagine inserting a key to shut off an engine only to find that it no longer fits — that the configuration of the lock has been changed without notice. Scientists developing targeted therapies to treat cancer often face a similar conundrum. Targeted therapies derive their effectiveness from … Continued

Study Finds Advantage for African Americans with Multiple Myeloma

In a surprising rebuttal of previous findings, a new study shows that African Americans with multiple myeloma have an overall higher survival rate than Caucasians with the disease when all patients have equal access to cutting-edge therapies. The results raise questions about the biology of this type of cancer. Multiple myeloma, a cancer that arises … Continued

Research Shows Minor Subsets of Tumor Cells Play Major Role in Metastasis

Medically reviewed by Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD In the jostling, jockeying mob of cell populations within a malignant tumor, the most inconspicuous groups can be the most dangerous. In a new study, Dana-Farber scientists show that in some breast cancers, two small factions of cells cooperate to drive metastasis but don’t directly interact with each … Continued

Discovery Suggests Potential New Target for Pain Control

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown mechanism in mice that influences their ability to feel pain. The discovery suggests the possibility of new approaches to treating pain in humans that are an alternative to opioid drugs. The scientists, reporting in the journal Science, found that the production of prostaglandins in white blood cells depends on … Continued

PARP Inhibitor Drugs Found to Have Hidden Talent

Designed to subvert tumor cells from within, a growing number of cancer drugs have also been found to have other talents. In the last few years, scientists have discovered that targeted drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors and certain chemotherapy agents not only hamper the internal workings of cancer cells but can also make them the … Continued

Hodgkin Lymphoma: The Latest in Treatment and Research

Medically reviewed by Philippe Armand, MD, PhD, and Margaret A. Shipp, MD Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a cancer that begins in white blood cells called lymphocytes, which play a significant role in the body’s immune system against disease. There have been major advances in the treatment of the disease in the past several years. A … Continued

Lung Cancer Screening Discussed Less with Women Patients, Study Finds

Women who are at high risk for lung cancer based on smoking history are less likely than men to have discussions with their doctors about potentially life-saving early detection screening, a new study has found. In a 2017 survey, women were 32% less likely to report having a lung cancer screening discussion with a provider … Continued