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

Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment Has Been Transformed by Immunotherapy. New Study Helps Explain Why

The go-to metaphor for cancer drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors is a brake-release lever — a means of setting loose an immune system attack on tumor cells. Helpful as it is, the analogy glosses over a highly complex mechanism involving multiple types of immune cells, cell receptors, signals, and responses — so intricate that … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

What Types of Cancer Can Be Treated With Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy for cancer is a form of treatment that uses the body’s immune system to combat the disease. Today, immunotherapy is being applied to a wide range of cancers, often in combination with other agents, and clinical trials are exploring ways of improving and expanding its effectiveness. A particularly promising form of immunotherapy, known as … Read more

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 … Read more

Immunotherapy-Chemotherapy Combination Approved for Hard-to-Treat Breast Cancer

Marking the first time an immunotherapy agent has been approved for the treatment of a form of breast cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of the drug atezolizumab in combination with the chemotherapy drug nab-paclitaxel for patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer. The approval was granted on an accelerated basis … Read more

From Recurrence to Remission: Lymphoma Patient is Cancer-Free After CAR T-Cell Therapy

In early 2018, Sandra Linberg received an infusion of CAR T cells only a few months after the therapy was approved for treating her type of cancer. After only a month, her lymphoma had completely disappeared – she was in a complete remission. “Those little warrior cells took care of it,” declared Linberg, who has continued … Read more

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 … Read more

‘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 … Read more