Anti-Microbial Drug Targets Key Driver of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Dana-Farber scientists have found that a generic anti-microbial drug can block a key molecular driver of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells, and when tested in a small clinical trial of advanced CLL patients who had relapsed, the drug slowed disease progression in half of them. The drug, pyrimethamine, achieved stable disease in eight of the … Read more

Implantable Device Helps Predict Drug Therapy Efficacy

Dana-Farber investigators recently launched a trial of a miniature device that can be implanted into ovarian tumors to deliver microdoses of different drugs, with the goal of rapidly measuring their effectiveness in killing cancer cells. The researchers hope the method could shorten the time needed to determine if a drug is helping a patient, and … Read more

Researchers Solve Mystery of Retinoic Acid’s Potency Against High-Risk Neuroblastoma

For decades, retinoic acid has been a key part of the arsenal against the childhood cancer neuroblastoma. For just as long, scientists have wondered exactly how it works. The answer, Dana-Farber researchers have found, is by reprogramming the activity of two crucial pairs of genes with such precision that the drug almost seems to have … Read more

Study Results Support Stem Cell Transplantation for Older Patients with Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Although stem cell transplantation is the only current therapy with the potential to cure myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), it is rarely used as an initial treatment for older patients because it hasn’t been proven superior to other therapies. New research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators stands to overturn that practice. In a clinical trial involving 384 … Read more

New ‘Almanac’ Tool of Tumor Molecular Changes Could Aid Precision Cancer Care

Researchers at Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have created a novel Molecular Oncology Almanac that combines an algorithm, or computational method, for interpreting genomic alterations in a patient’s tumor, along with a knowledge base of molecular changes reported to be associated with tumor behavior. They say that the components of this … Read more

Exercise Hormone Irisin Shows Potential for Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

New research has yielded the strongest evidence yet that irisin, a hormone discovered by Dana-Farber’s Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, that is produced in the body by muscular exercise, can by itself improve cognitive functions and potentially reverse some of the memory-destroying effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Reporting in the journal Nature Metabolism, Spiegelman and co-authors from Massachusetts … Read more

Researchers Set Sights on New Ovarian Cancer Treatment Strategies

Despite breakthrough treatments for high-grade serous ovarian cancer, about 80 percent of patients relapse within two years, often resistant to treatment. The good news is that Dana-Farber scientists are pursuing multiple avenues of research that very well may improve outcomes. “A number of patients develop progressive disease at a later point, potentially indicating that a … Read more

Patient-Derived Ovarian Cancer ‘Organoids’ Aid Precision Oncology Research

The time may not be far off when the treatment for a person’s ovarian cancer can be tailored to their malignancy using drugs selected by testing on “organoids” — miniature 3-D clusters of cancer cells grown from a patient’s own tumor cells. Although ovarian organoid tests are not yet being used to guide treatment decisions, … Read more

Oncologists Propose New Endpoint for Breast Cancer Adjuvant Trials

The majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have early-stage disease that is confined to the breast or nearby lymph nodes and is effectively treated by lumpectomy or mastectomy. Nevertheless, small clusters of cancer cells remaining after surgery — called micrometastases — have the potential to spread at some point and cause a cancer recurrence, … Read more

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

Scientists Attack ‘Undruggable’ Cancer Protein with Targeted Nanoparticles

A protein that normally serves useful functions in the body like helping wounds heal and repairing damaged tissues is also high on scientists’ “most wanted” list of cancer culprits. Called STAT3, the protein has been found to be overactive in a variety of cancers — including breast cancer — driving malignant growth, survival, and metastasis. … 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

Scientists Seek to Expand ‘Universe’ of Drug Targets in Cancer

Cancer drugs like Gleevec or Herceptin, which were approved for us in the 1990s, prompted hopes of transforming cancer care and perhaps render harsh treatments like chemotherapy obsolete. Known as precision or targeted therapies, these drugs are designed to block the action of specific mutated genes or proteins that drive malignant tumor growth, while sparing … 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

Which Older Patients with MDS Are Most Likely to Benefit from Transplant?

New treatment approaches have increased the number of older patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) eligible for a stem cell transplant. Now, Dana-Farber research has identified those that are most likely to benefit from one. In a prospective study involving patients age 60 to 75 with advanced MDS, investigators found that participants at high risk of … Read more