What is a Living Drug?

“Living” drugs consist of fully functional cells that have been selected and often modified to treat specific diseases, such as cancer. CAR T-cell therapy and therapeutic vaccines fall into this category.

What is the Future of Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a kind of treatment that has had stunning results in some patients with cancers like melanoma, lymphoma, and kidney cancer. Immunotherapy drugs empower the body’s immune system by enabling the body to fight cancer — an approach that can slow or halt cancer in certain patients. In our latest podcast series, The Science … Continued

Precision Medicine and Immunotherapy for Cancer: What to Know

Precision medicine and immunotherapy are changing the landscape of cancer treatment. The aim of precision medicine, sometimes called personalized medicine, is to match treatments to individual patients taking into account their genetic makeup, medical history, test results, and other distinctive characteristics. Unlike precision medicine, immunotherapy is a particular form of treatment, aimed at manipulating the patient’s … Continued

Immunopatient: One Patient’s Story of Cancer and Immunotherapy

It’s not uncommon for cancer patients to take to a pen after a diagnosis. Peter Rooney’s taken that to another level. Rooney, a former journalist and author of the book Die Free, captured his cancer journey in the new book Immunopatient: The New Frontier of Curing Cancer. The following excerpt is reprinted with permission from Immunopatient by … Continued

Stomach Cancer: How Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy are Changing Treatment

The approval of a targeted therapy and an immunotherapy drug for some patients with advanced stomach cancer reflects recent new approaches to this difficult-to-treat cancer that hasn’t had many therapeutic advances in recent years. Stomach cancer, uncommon in the United States but a leading cause of cancer death globally, causes few definitive symptoms in early … Continued

Can Immunotherapy Help Patients with Small Cell Lung Cancer?

Small cell lung cancer is the most aggressive type of lung cancer. Unlike its far more common counterpart, non-small cell lung cancer, treatment with immunotherapy drugs hasn’t yet been approved for small cell lung cancer, but some early findings in clinical trials suggest this type of treatment may have potential. Small cell lung cancer gets … Continued

What Does It Mean to Have Inoperable Cancer?

A cancer can be inoperable for a variety of reasons. “Liquid cancers,” such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, are considered inoperable by nature, because they involve cells or tissues that are dispersed throughout the body. Leukemia and multiple myeloma, for example, originate in abnormal cells of the bone marrow, the spongy material within the … Continued

CRISPR Enables Cancer Immunotherapy Drug Discovery

This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. A novel screening method using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology has revealed new drug targets that could potentially enhance the effectiveness of PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors, a promising new class of cancer immunotherapy. The method, developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, uses CRISPR-Cas9 … Continued

Treating Cancer by Location or Genetic Markers: Which is Better?

In the past, treating cancers involved classifying them primarily by the organ or tissue where they arose – like the skin, the lungs, the breast, or the colon. Today, it’s often possible to identify the genes and proteins responsible for a tumor’s growth, and, in some cases, to offer a drug treatment that specifically targets … Continued

Cancer Treatment: A Look at How It Has Evolved in 70 Years

In 1947, when Dana-Farber Cancer Institute founder Sidney Farber, MD, set out to find a drug treatment for childhood leukemia, cancer treatment took two forms – surgery to cut out cancerous masses, and radiation therapy to burn them out. Cancers that couldn’t be removed or irradiated – either because of their position in the body, because … Continued

What’s New in Immunotherapy and Breast Cancer?

Immunotherapy refers to treatments that use the body’s own immune system to combat diseases. While no immunotherapy drugs are currently approved for breast cancer, clinical trials at Dana-Farber and elsewhere are exploring the effectiveness of these drugs — and whether they could work in combination with other cancer therapies. “I think we’re going to make … Continued

What’s New in Immunotherapy for Brain Tumors?

Vaccines, drugs, and modified human cells that activate the immune system against cancer have improved outcomes and prolonged lives in some types of cancer in the past few years. For patients with glioblastoma, the most common primary brain tumor in adults, immunotherapy has shown some promise in clinical trials — but it can’t yet be … Continued

How is Immunotherapy Used to Treat Lymphoma?

While new types of immunotherapy are being used to treat a wide variety of cancers, immunotherapy has been a front-line treatment for lymphoma for decades. Lymphoma occurs when white blood cells known as lymphocytes grow abnormally. There are nearly 70 subtypes of Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma that have been defined. The type of immunotherapy … Continued

Ovarian Cancer and Immunotherapy: The State of the Science

Immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer and is now undergoing testing in ovarian cancer. Clinical trials of drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors, which can unleash a potent immune system attack on cancer cells, have produced remissions in about 10-15 percent of patients with advanced and recurrent ovarian cancer – somewhat … Continued

Cancer Immunotherapy: Taking Aim with Neoantigens

It’s a compelling idea that has attracted scientists for decades: rather than poison tumors with chemicals and radiation, use a biological agent – a vaccine – to rally the body’s formidable immune defenders to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Yet, even as other forms of immunotherapy are showing promise against some cancers, efforts to … Continued

Who Should Be Treated with Immunotherapy?

There has been much excitement in recent years around new drugs that exploit the power of the body’s immune system to fight cancer. In some patients, even with advanced cancers, these immunotherapy treatments have slowed or halted the disease after standard treatments no longer worked, with remissions lasting several years and patients experiencing less severe … Continued