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

Discovery Suggests Approach to Preventing Peripheral Neuropathy

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, which affects about one-third of patients receiving chemotherapy, include numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet. Some patients don’t experience these symptoms after treatment ends, but in other patients, they are long-lasting. There is currently no preventive or treatment for peripheral neuropathy, which is caused by the degeneration … Continued

In Check: Attacking Cancer from Many Fronts

As a pediatric dentist, Jay Schwab had a clear-cut enemy: dental disease in children and adolescents, and the apprehensions they faced in the dental environment. Cavities could neither hide from his drill nor fool his X-ray machine, and plaque could easily be scraped away. Generations of patients went away smiling and in good dental health. … Continued

Catch Me if You Can: Finding Cancer Cells that Hide in Plain Sight

In the high-stakes contest of hide-and-seek between cancer cells and the human immune system, the advantage doesn’t always lie with the body’s defenders. A new approach to treatment, known as CAR T-cell therapy, may shift that balance of power. Cancer cells conceal themselves from the immune system not by barricading themselves in an impenetrable shell, … Continued

Attacking A Weak Point in Pancreatic Cancer’s Defense

In the fall of 2015, at the age of 44 – young for a person to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – Doron Broman was stunned to learn he had a large tumor on his pancreas that had metastasized to the liver. Facing only months to live, Broman would find himself in the right place … Continued

Immunotherapy Beats Chemotherapy for Advanced Bladder Cancer Patients

The immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is the first therapy of any kind to improve survival in patients whose metastatic bladder cancer worsened after treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy. Keytruda proved so much better than chemotherapy in this “second-line” use that an international clinical trial was halted when the advantage became apparent. “This is very good news; … Continued

What Is CTLA-4 and How Does it Work in Treating Metastatic Melanoma?

Since the early 2000s, when Dana-Farber scientists discovered that many cancer cells carry “checkpoint” proteins that ward off an immune system attack on tumors, a great deal of research has focused on the development and testing of agents capable of blocking those proteins. In many patients, such agents have sent cancers into long-term remissions. A checkpoint … Continued