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

Drugs Targeting a Pathway in Glioblastoma Must Clear a High Bar, Study Suggests

Researchers had every reason to expect that a compound called BKM120 (also known as buparlisib) would stifle glioblastoma brain tumors lacking the protein PTEN. After all, it was known to block the tumor-promoting PI3K protein and could easily pass through the blood-brain barrier — the dense layer of cells that guards entry to the brain … Read more

Venetoclax Combination Approved for Older Patients with AML

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a novel targeted drug to treat acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in older patients, a segment of the blood cancer population in dire need of improved therapies. In a phase 3 clinical trial, researchers showed that the oral drug, venetoclax (or Venclexta), when given along with azacitidine, could … Read more

Cancer Prevention and Care Resources for Marginalized Patients and Advocates

Cancer does not affect everyone in the same way. A combination of factors, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status can make some patients face a greater cancer burden and poorer outcomes in cancer care and treatment. These inequities are called cancer disparities. The causes “are complex and reflect social and economic disparities and … Read more

Biomarker Search Reveals Unexpected Associations in Treatment of Advanced Kidney Cancer

Scientists are gratified when a clinical trial reveals whether one treatment — often an experimental therapy or drug combination — is superior to another. But researchers then often look more deeply into the data, searching for characteristics of tumors associated with a treatment’s effectiveness, or lack of it. In today’s world of precision medicine, identifying … Read more