Spurring Natural Killer Cells to Fight Head and Neck Cancer

Excited to be the first patient in a novel clinical trial, Jon Woods is hoping that an infusion of immune natural killer cells donated by his son will beat back the metastatic cancer he has battled for four years. “I’m upbeat [and] I’m happy to be a pioneer,” says Woods, 65, a retired postal worker … Continued

Study Identifies Candidate Combinations for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

In their quest for effective targeted therapies to treat triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) — an aggressive disease that often doesn’t respond to standard chemotherapy — researchers at Dana-Farber and elsewhere have recently focused on the potential of drugs known as BET bromodomain inhibitors. BET inhibitors target a family of proteins including BRD2, BRD3, BRD4, and … Continued

Diving Into Ependymomas, Hard-to-Treat Pediatric Brain Tumors

Ependymomas are some of the most difficult-to-treat brain tumors. Mariella Filbin, MD, PhD, a neuro-oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, is driven by a desire to find new therapies for these pediatric brain tumors. At the core of her work is an effort to uncover the events that shape tumor development. Defining how … Continued

New Drug Regimens Show Promise in Early and Late Myeloma

Treatment advances for multiple myeloma continue to bring improved outcomes for patients in different stages of their disease. Recent clinical trial reports show progress in treating two myeloma populations — newly diagnosed, transplant eligible patients, and individuals whose disease has progressed following several lines of therapy. In one trial, the phase 2 GRIFFIN study showed … Continued

Study Finds New Vulnerabilities in Diabetes-Associated Liver Cancer

Liver cancer that develops in people with obesity and Type 2 diabetes is dependent on elevated amounts of a protein that might be targeted for treatment by two existing drugs, say Dana-Farber scientists. The research reported in Cancer Research by Pere Puigserver, PhD, and colleagues pertains specifically to liver cancer in individuals who are obese … Continued

CAR T-Cell Therapy Helps Young Hockey Fan Ice Pediatric Leukemia

Due to COVID-19, Ava Girolimetti doesn’t know if she will be starting middle school this September in a classroom, on a computer screen, or a combination of both. But thanks to CAR T-cell therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), she plans to be there cancer-free. The rising sixth grader can make this claim as one … Continued

Wave of New Therapies Improve Outcomes for Patients with Multiple Myeloma

For many patients with multiple myeloma, a new generation of drugs and drug combinations is producing better outcomes and fewer side effects. In recent months, several novel therapies studied and tested by Dana-Farber scientists have gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or taken a step toward approval after posting solid results … Continued

Institute Researchers Take Lead in Trials of Potential COVID-19 Therapies

Insights from decades of cancer research are surprisingly transferable to the battle against COVID-19. The desire to save life and ease suffering that motivates cancer researchers has been directed to the new disease as well. Drawing on their knowledge of cancer drug mechanisms, and of the adverse side effects of some of those drugs, Dana-Farber … Continued

Scientists Find Immune Signal in Human Cells Has Ancient Pedigree

Human cells in distress — either because they’re infected by a virus or have become cancerous — have a formidable army of defenders at their disposal: white blood cells and other agents of the immune system that can come to the rescue. Bacterial cells aren’t as fortunate. Living in colonies of their own kind, they … Continued

Researchers Identify Antibodies That Could Work Against Coronavirus

Dana-Farber researchers, with colleagues at Columbia University and the National Institutes of Health, have identified a diverse set of antibodies that effectively neutralize the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, a key step in the development of agents to treat and prevent the disease. As reported in Nature, the antibodies exhibited “exquisite potency” against the virus, thwarting … Continued

Unusual Case Reveals How Some Tumors Resist Immunotherapy

The intriguing case of a man with melanoma tumors that responded in different ways to the same checkpoint-blocking drug has yielded an important clue to the causes of resistance to immunotherapy treatments, according to Dana-Farber researchers. The findings could help guide the use of immunotherapy in individual patients. The 74-year-old patient, described in a report … Continued

For Patient with Endometrial Cancer, Immunotherapy Proves the Perfect Move

As a designer of fantasy-style board games, Kate Beckett knows that timing and chance can play important roles in a player’s survival. Living with metastatic endometrial cancer, she has proof both can also be helpful in the real world. Beckett had already endured a hysterectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and a serious kidney infection during six years … Continued

Common Gene-Editing Tool Found to Have Unexpected Effect on Cells

As a tool for editing cell DNA, the protein Cas9 is prized for its precision, its ability to snip DNA at specific locations without producing repercussions elsewhere in the genome. On the basis of a recent study by Dana-Farber scientists, that reputation for unobtrusiveness will have to be revised. In a paper in Nature Genetics, … Continued

What Researchers Need to Learn About COVID-19 — And How You Can Help

By Wayne Marasco, MD, PhD, Professor in the Dana-Farber Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Many millions of people around the globe have had COVID-19. The vast majority of people have recovered, but several hundreds of thousands of people have died from the virus. This pandemic has had … Continued

Researchers Eye Potential New Treatment for Telomere Diseases

For years, Donna Martin carried a piece of scrap paper with the words “dyskeratosis congenita,” which she believed might explain her son Brad’s sudden, mysterious affliction. A routine blood test had revealed Brad’s bone marrow was failing, unable to keep up with his need for healthy blood cells. His condition, Donna knew, would worsen over … Continued

COVID-19 Antibody Tests: What We Know and What We Don’t

By Wayne Marasco, MD, PhD, Professor in the Dana-Farber Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School There is great hope surrounding the release of COVID-19 antibody tests, which could determine whether a person has developed immunity to the virus. We would all benefit if the test results could … Continued

Dana-Farber Clinical Research Stays on Track During COVID-19

The resilience shown by cancer care providers during the coronavirus crisis is in equal supply among those involved in clinical research. The strict protocols associated with these studies — rules on eligibility, consent, criteria for tracking response, data collection and analysis — might seem to allow little of the flexibility needed in the COVID-19 era. … Continued