Immunotherapy for Pediatric Solid Tumors: What’s the Latest?

Medically reviewed by Natalie Collins, MD, PhD New treatments that spur the immune system against cancer have entered the clinic to combat some forms of pediatric blood cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). One form of immunotherapy, CAR T cells, has been approved for children and young adults with ALL. In treating solid tumors … 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

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

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

Exceptional Immunotherapy Response Triggers Search for the Cause

Six years’ worth of repeated surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy with three different agents failed to halt the growth of Frances Zichichi’s brain tumor. As it kept recurring and more surgeries were required, Zichichi lost the use of her left side. Eventually the cancer formed masses under her scalp, causing pain, which was dulled only with … Continued

Immunotherapy Shows Benefit in Hard-to-Treat Breast Cancer

While immunotherapy has brought an impressive new option to several types of cancer, drugs that harness the immune system to fight cancer haven’t shown a significant benefit in treating breast cancer—until now. According to a new clinical trial report, published in Th­­e New England Journal of Medicine, a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy achieved better … Continued

What is a Biomarker?

A biomarker—short for “biological marker”—is something that can be objectively measured and is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or a condition or disease. A biomarker can be a molecule found in the blood or other body fluids or tissues. Another type of biomarker is a genetic signature or “fingerprint”—a pattern of activity … Continued

‘Organoids’ Could Aid Cancer Drug Selection

Tests on living “organoids” created from patients’ ovarian cancer cells proved more accurate than DNA sequencing in predicting tumors’ sensitivity or resistance to chemotherapy drugs – and combining the two methods worked even better, say scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The investigators report in Cancer Discovery that ovarian cancer organoids – tiny, three-dimensional spheres of cells … Continued

Discovery May Improve Immunotherapy for Melanoma

Scientists at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) have identified biomarkers in melanoma that could help tailor immunotherapy treatments to maximize the benefits for patients while reducing the likelihood of severe side effects.

The Latest Advancements in Immunotherapy for Adult Leukemia

As scientists have learned more about the intricate workings of the immune system, they’ve developed new forms of immunotherapy that have been approved for the treatment of leukemia or are being clinically tested in patients.

Stage IV Lung Cancer Patient in Remission for Years After Immunotherapy

Nancy Hale was given a 30 percent chance of surviving three years when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. But today, six years after her initial diagnosis and because of an immunotherapy clinical trial, Hale is in remission—and “blazing the trail” for other patients.

When is Immunotherapy the Right Treatment for Lung Cancer?

“It has been the holy grail of oncology to develop potentially curative treatments for advanced common solid tumors, and it may now be on our doorstep for at least some patients,” says Bruce Johnson, MD, a thoracic oncologist and chief clinical research officer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Given Months to Live, Kidney Cancer Patient Defies the Odds

Two years after being given six months to live, Mullan’s cancer is still at bay because of immunotherapy and targeted chemotherapy – and through it all, he achieved one of his dreams: graduating from Harvard Law School.