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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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, … Read more

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; … Read more

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 … Read more