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

Dana-Farber Experts Aid Ambitious Projects One Cell at a Time

Like ambitious cartographers bent on mapping entire countries down to their individual houses, scientists are using state-of-the-art methods to create two mammoth atlases — one aimed at mapping human cells of every type, and the other a 3D atlas of every molecular feature of cancer as it develops, spreads, and responds to treatment. The Human … Continued

Immunotherapy: What It Is, How It Works, and Current Research

Medically reviewed by F. Stephen Hodi, MD Immunotherapy refers to treatments that use the body’s immune system to combat diseases. Immuno-oncology focuses on efforts to use the immune system as a weapon against cancer. The immune system is a collection of organs, tissues, specialized cells, and substances that protect the body against infection and disease. … Continued

Crowdsourcing Yields AI-Based Tool to Improve Radiation Therapy in Lung Cancer

Crowdsourcing is an increasingly powerful approach for fueling innovation in many sectors but has not been routinely applied in academic medicine. Scientists at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center are exploring ways to harness this method for solutions to pressing clinical problems, such as the worldwide shortage of radiation oncologists. Their work has led to the development of … Continued

New Drug Target Found in Subset of Metastatic Prostate Cancers

Medically reviewed by Himisha Beltran, MD Prostate cancer, when diagnosed early, can be a very treatable disease. Even advanced prostate cancer has treatment options. But some advanced, metastatic prostate cancers become resistant to standard therapies by shapeshifting into a different type of cancer, called small cell neuroendocrine prostate cancer. These neuroendocrine tumors tend to be … Continued

Scientists Identify Pathway Driving Natural Killer Cell Activity

Medically reviewed by Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, and Rizwan Romee, MD Immune cells called natural killer (NK) cells are a key arm of the body’s defenses against infections and cancers, but what provokes them into action is less well understood than some other immune components such as T cells. “Critical gaps in our knowledge regarding … 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

What is PD-1 and Immunotherapy?

More than a century after scientists recognized the immune system’s potential as a cancer warrior, immunotherapy is rapidly becoming a mainstay of the anti-cancer arsenal. The groundwork was laid in the 1990s, when scientists learned that immune cells carry certain proteins on their surface that enable them to turn off the body’s immune system. That … Continued

How are bispecific antibodies being used to treat blood cancers?

Many of the immunotherapy drugs that are transforming the treatment of certain types of cancer are based on antibodies — artificial proteins that latch onto a molecular target, called an antigen. Bispecific antibodies, which can bind to two antigens at the same time, are being tested and moving toward clinical use in some blood cancers. … Continued

With precision cancer medicine, a success against endometrial cancer

In the annals of patients who have benefited from Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s (BWH) genomic sequencing program Profile, few involve a turnabout as dramatic as one recently reported in Gynecologic Oncology. Authored by nearly a dozen Dana-Farber and BWH faculty, the paper recounts the medical history of a 49-year-old Nebraska woman first diagnosed … Continued

New study uncovers strategy for defusing castration-resistant prostate cancer

Cancer is often fueled by hormones, including the male sex hormone testosterone, which spur tumor growth in most forms of prostate cancer. Doctors can defuse this destructive relationship, typically with drugs (or sometimes surgery), but frequently, the tumors adapt or evolve, devising ways to incite cancer growth even in the absence of hormone-driven signals. These … Continued

How Do I Know if I am Eligible For a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials are research studies that examine whether new therapies, diagnostic techniques, or disease-prevention strategies are safe and effective in people. They’re considered the gold standard for determining if newly developed treatments produce better results and fewer side effects than standard therapies. All proposals for clinical trials go through a rigorous review at the institution … Continued

Study Uncovers Dual Gene-Control System in Multiple Myeloma

The process of converting genetic information from DNA to RNA, known as transcription, is a joint undertaking. Sections of DNA, known as promoters, collaborate with other sections known as enhancers to recast the genetic code into a form that can be used by cells to make proteins. As with many partnerships, however, it hasn’t been … Continued

What Are the Common Treatments for Cancer?

Every cancer patient is different, and there are many different types of cancer treatment that a patient may receive—all of which is dependent on their unique circumstances. A patient may only receive one type of treatment or a combination of multiple different treatments. Treatment can also have different goals. In some cases, treatment is used … Continued

Can Immunotherapy be Combined with Chemotherapy to Fight Cancer?

Immunotherapy drugs can be more effective against cancer when combined with other therapies, such as radiation therapy, targeted drugs, or other immunotherapy agents. Clinical trials that are currently underway are testing such combinations in a variety of cancers. It might seem that immunotherapy and chemotherapy make an unpromising pair. Chemotherapy, after all, is known to … Continued