FDA Approves New Treatment Option For Glioma

In an era when targeted therapies are often effective against multiple types of cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated approval of a two-drug therapy for solid tumors carrying a specific mutation in the BRAF gene is a prime example of this trend. For patients with glioma brain cancer that harbors the mutation, the … Read more

New Strategy Aims to ‘Soften Up’ Tumors for Attack by Natural Killer Cells

Scientists are stepping up efforts to deploy natural killer (NK) cells — the body’s first responders against infected and malignant cells — to combat cancer. Treatment using NK cells from healthy donors has shown promise, but currently successes have been limited and the cells lack staying power in the body. While some researchers are working … Read more

Specially Equipped Natural Killer Cells Show Promise Against Form of AML

CAR T cells’ superpower is to identify cancer-related targets on the surface of tumor cells and order an attack on those cells. But they lack anything resembling X-ray vision to detect nefarious protein targets within tumor cells. That shortfall has limited their effectiveness in diseases like acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), in which tumor cells display few surface … Read more

Researchers Discover Mechanism Linking Mutations in the ‘Dark Matter’ of the Genome to Cancer

For many years, the human genome was viewed as a book of life in which sections of great eloquence and economy of expression were interspersed with vast stretches of gibberish. The legible sections contained the code for making cell proteins; the other regions, representing about 90% of the entire genome, were dismissed as “junk DNA,” … Read more

Advances in Myeloma, Breast Cancer, and Clinical Trials Equity: A Dana-Farber Research Update

Results of several phase 3 trials and dozens of other studies led by Dana-Farber researchers were presented online and in person June 3-7 at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world’s largest clinical cancer research meeting. Some of the research reports presented by Dana-Farber investigators include: Improved progression-free … Read more

Study Overturns Dogma About Cell Division; Could Unlock New Cancer Drug Target

The cells in our body replicate themselves in a tightly regulated series of steps and molecular checkpoints that act as gatekeepers. A set of proteins called cell cycle kinases, including CDK1, CDK4, and CDK6, control various phases and timing of the process so that cells divide and replicate only when needed, and under strict control. … Read more

Study Opens Door to Cancer Research in the ‘Dark Matter’ of the Genome

When a dam collapses because of a design flaw, tracing the error to the original blueprint is a relatively straightforward matter. When the breach happens for another reason — shoddy workmanship, insufficient oversight during construction, a failure to follow design specifications, or any of a range of other possibilities — the investigation can be much … Read more

Patient Participates in Clinical Trial Leading to Approval of CAR T-Cell Therapy for Form of Lymphoma

When lab tests confirmed that her non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) had recurred after treatment, Ann Bonetti came to Dana-Farber expecting to hear she would need a stem cell transplant. When her oncologist told her about a clinical trial of a treatment that would turn her body’s own T cells into ace cancer fighters, she didn’t need … Read more

CNS Lymphoma Survivor Stays on Call with Immunotherapy

Stephan Bunker has learned to be prepared for anything during a half-century protecting others as a soldier, volunteer firefighter, law enforcement official, and director of 911 dispatchers for the state of Maine. So when Bunker was the one facing an emergency — a diagnosis of a brain cancer known as primary central nervous system (CNS) … Read more

Researchers Use CRISPR To Build A Human Melanoma Model From Scratch

This post was adapted from a Broad Institute post by Allessandra DiCorato. Over the last two decades, researchers have discovered thousands of genetic mutations in cancer. But understanding how they affect the growth and spread of tumors in the body remains challenging because each patient’s tumor can have many different mutations.  Now, scientists have used … Read more

Newly Identified Regulator in Prostate Cancer Cells Could Serve as Drug Target for Advanced Tumors

Treating advanced prostate cancer typically involves surgery — to reduce levels of testosterone, which fuels the growth of tumors — or giving drugs that blockade the androgen receptor (AR), which responds to testosterone by stimulating cancer-growth genes. While these measures can keep the disease at bay initially, resistance almost always occurs as the androgen receptor … Read more

Junior Dana-Farber Analyst Named to Forbes Healthcare’s 30 under 30

At 28 years old, Dana-Farber bioinformatics analyst Carino Gurjao is already making a splash in the field of colorectal cancer research. He is coming off the back of a big year: The Paris-born researcher was named to Forbes Healthcare’s 2022 30 Under 30 list for his role in the Giannakis Lab at Dana-Farber, which identified … Read more

Addressing the Impact of Poverty on Childhood Cancer

Approximately one in three children in the United States lives in a low-income home. For childhood cancer patients, living in a low-income home can have a significant impact: Poverty and associated factors are linked to poorer outcomes, even at large academic medical centers like Dana-Farber, according to research by Kira Bona, MD, MPH, a pediatric … Read more

Researchers Urge Efforts to Improve Diagnosis and Care of Patients with Disabilities that Affect Mobility

People with disabilities that affect their mobility often face special challenges when diagnosed with cancer. Beyond logistical matters such as getting to and from medical appointments, they may be diagnosed with more advanced, harder-to-treat cancer than non-disabled individuals, making them more likely to die of their disease, research suggests. While most previous studies of these … Read more

Researchers Identify Promising Drug Target in Pediatric Neuroblastoma

Investigators had culled the list of suspects down to two. But which one was the guilty party, or were both? The pair worked together so seamlessly, it was difficult to tell where one’s role began and the other’s ended. In some respects, they even looked alike. Dana-Farber scientists have now teased apart the relationship between … Read more

Research Sheds More Light on Mechanisms Causing Rare Leukemia BPDCN

A rare leukemia called BPDCN (blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm) is three to four times more common in people with one X chromosome, for reasons that hadn’t been clear. Now, however, research led by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists has identified a genetic factor that appears to explain a large part of the discrepancy, and also … Read more

For Sisters, Myeloma Study is a Promise Kept

At Carolyn Kershaw and Darlene Musso’s first visit to Dana-Farber in July, Irene Ghobrial, MD, greeted them with some unexpected news. “We walked in and she said, ‘Did you know you two are famous in our lab?’” Kershaw recounts. Their local renown stems from their participation in the PROMISE study at Dana-Farber’s Center for the Prevention of Progression (CPOP), which … Read more

Study Reveals Factors Influencing Success of An Immunotherapy Treatment

Understanding why immunotherapies are highly effective in some patients but fail in many others is one of the top priorities in cancer research — and one of the most challenging puzzles. A research team led by Catherine J. Wu, MD, has uncovered some previously unknown molecular factors affecting donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI), a form of … Read more