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

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

Study Uncovers Potent Immunotherapy Approach to Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Immune therapies declare open season on cancer, rousing immune system cells to take up an attack on tumors. But which immune cells join the hunt, which sit it out, and what happens within immune cells that causes them to go on the offensive? Such questions are especially relevant when immunotherapies show only limited effectiveness against … Read more

Form of Artificial Intelligence Proves Superior in Identifying Inherited Cancer-Related DNA Variants

A new “deep learning” form of artificial intelligence outperformed standard methods in identifying cancer patients with inherited DNA alterations that could increase their risk of developing cancer or improve their response to certain targeted cancer drugs. Dana-Farber researchers led by Saud H. AlDubayan, MD, and Eliezer Van Allen, MD, report in JAMA that the analytical … Read more

Combination Immunotherapy Holds Promise for Patients with Rare Bladder Cancer

A woman recently came to Bradley McGregor, MD, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in severe pain with extreme fatigue. Her squamous cell bladder cancer, a rare type for which traditional treatment is generally less effective, had advanced, and it appeared that she had no other options. But timing is everything. McGregor was conducting a … Read more

The Latest Efforts in Precision Oncology for Advanced Prostate Cancer

The management of advanced prostate cancer is rapidly evolving with the application of precision treatments based on genomic testing of tumors’ altered DNA. With recent biomarker-driven drug approvals and increased clinical use of genomic testing, there are a number of opportunities to expand upon this framework. Researchers are calling for increased collaboration and new strategies. … Read more

The Latest on Dana-Farber AIDS/HIV Research

The development of antiviral drug “cocktails” for AIDS in the mid-1990s has saved and extended the lives of millions of people around the world, but much more work is needed before the disease is truly vanquished. Despite significant advances in treatment and expanded efforts to slow the spread of the disease, AIDS remains a global … Read more

Study Identifies Genes That Help Drive Growth in Melanoma Subtypes

Favoritism or impartiality? Do the four genomic subtypes of melanoma have a bias toward certain mutated genes and gene pathways, or do they welcome all mutations equally? Answering that question has been especially difficult because of cutaneous melanoma’s high mutation rate — the profusion of misspelled, severed, out-of-place, missing-in-action, or overabundant genes found in melanoma … Read more