Study Results Support Stem Cell Transplantation for Older Patients with Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Although stem cell transplantation is the only current therapy with the potential to cure myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), it is rarely used as an initial treatment for older patients because it hasn’t been proven superior to other therapies. New research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators stands to overturn that practice. In a clinical trial involving 384 … Read more

New ‘Almanac’ Tool of Tumor Molecular Changes Could Aid Precision Cancer Care

Researchers at Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have created a novel Molecular Oncology Almanac that combines an algorithm, or computational method, for interpreting genomic alterations in a patient’s tumor, along with a knowledge base of molecular changes reported to be associated with tumor behavior. They say that the components of this … Read more

Exercise Hormone Irisin Shows Potential for Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

New research has yielded the strongest evidence yet that irisin, a hormone discovered by Dana-Farber’s Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, that is produced in the body by muscular exercise, can by itself improve cognitive functions and potentially reverse some of the memory-destroying effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Reporting in the journal Nature Metabolism, Spiegelman and co-authors from Massachusetts … Read more

Researchers Set Sights on New Ovarian Cancer Treatment Strategies

Despite breakthrough treatments for high-grade serous ovarian cancer, about 80 percent of patients relapse within two years, often resistant to treatment. The good news is that Dana-Farber scientists are pursuing multiple avenues of research that very well may improve outcomes. “A number of patients develop progressive disease at a later point, potentially indicating that a … Read more

Patient-Derived Ovarian Cancer ‘Organoids’ Aid Precision Oncology Research

The time may not be far off when the treatment for a person’s ovarian cancer can be tailored to their malignancy using drugs selected by testing on “organoids” — miniature 3-D clusters of cancer cells grown from a patient’s own tumor cells. Although ovarian organoid tests are not yet being used to guide treatment decisions, … Read more

How Chromatin Remodelers Find Their Way to DNA

Studies in the lab of Cigall Kadoch, PhD, are shedding new light on how molecular machines called BAF chromatin remodeling complexes “go where they need to go” within the DNA genome of cells, binding to specific locations to govern which genes turn on and off to orchestrate cell functions. The findings, described in the journal … 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