Immunotherapy is Lifesaver for Firefighter with Rare Bile Duct Cancer

As a former volunteer firefighter, Paul Calnan prided himself on being ready for any emergency. He thought nothing could rattle him — until, at age 47, doctors discovered a large, malignant tumor in his liver. The diagnosis was stage IV intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of bile duct cancer that had presented in Calnan’s liver. … Read more

Study Reveals Factor That Determines ‘Fate’ of Cancer Cells When Tumor Suppressor Gene Function is Restored

Many cancers develop from cells that have a malfunctioning tumor suppressor gene, p53, which normally helps control unchecked cell growth and prevent cancer. Some scientists are pursuing a strategy of restoring p53 gene function in cancer cells to stop their unruly growth or kill them. The exact effects of reviving p53 activity in tumors are … Read more

What is a Cytokine Storm?

A cytokine storm is a severe immune system reaction to infection, autoimmune condition, or other disease, including some cancers. It occurs when the body produces extremely high levels of certain cytokines, which are proteins that raise or lower immune activity. The deluge of cytokines into the bloodstream can result in severe inflammation across multiple bodily … Read more

New ‘Druggable’ Genetic Targets Identified in Rare Type of Bile Duct Cancer

Scientists are beginning to make inroads into treating cholangiocarcinoma, a rare, lethal cancer of the bile ducts, with precision drugs. Last year, the first targeted drug for some patients with the disease was approved. Now, Dana-Farber scientists say they have identified another genetic alteration in a small percentage of cholangiocarcinoma patients that can be attacked … Read more

Study Reveals Promising Combination Therapy for T-Cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia

Cancer cells have a bias toward survival, often becoming heavily reliant on certain protein pathways to sustain themselves. Scientists are finding ways to turn that survival instinct into a liability — by making the cells even more dependent on those pathways, then choking the pathways off. It’s an approach that has now yielded a promising … Read more

Vaccines Help Some COVID-19 ‘Long Haulers,’ But Lingering Symptoms Remain a Mystery

For an estimated 10% to 30% of people who survive acute COVID-19 illness, the road to full recovery is lengthy and plagued with an array of persistent ills ranging from “brain fog” to fatigue, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal distress, impaired sense of smell, and neurological symptoms. Doctors call this syndrome, “long COVID or post-acute COVID-19,” … Read more

Researchers Focus on How to Invigorate ‘Exhausted’ T Cells in Immunotherapy

Despite the sometimes-dramatic success of new cancer immunotherapies like checkpoint inhibitor drugs and CAR T cells, thus far only a minority of patients have responded or gained long-lasting benefits. A major reason for the inconsistent results of immunotherapy is a phenomenon known as “T-cell exhaustion” — a weakening or loss of tumor-killing function by T … Read more

Study Uncovers Potent Immunotherapy Approach to Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Immune therapies declare open season on cancer, rousing immune system cells to take up an attack on tumors. But which immune cells join the hunt, which sit it out, and what happens within immune cells that causes them to go on the offensive? Such questions are especially relevant when immunotherapies show only limited effectiveness against … Read more

CAR T-Cell Therapy Pushes Grandmother’s Multiple Myeloma Into Long Remission

As head of a family that includes seven children and 12 grandchildren, Susan Voigt says she is used to putting other people first. When it comes to trailblazing multiple myeloma treatment, however, she is proudly out in front. A longtime Vermont resident, Voigt, 69, was the first person from her state to receive CAR T-cell … Read more