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

For Afghanistan War Veteran, Immunotherapy Makes Gains Against Brain Cancer

A compound that sparks an immune system attack on cancer while also lowering tumor cells’ defenses against such an attack is showing promise in its first clinical trial in patients with advanced or metastatic cancers. One of those with the best result is a former U.S. Marine and Afghanistan war veteran, Josh Mahoney. Mahoney, of … Read more

PALB2 Breast Cancer Gene: What You Should Know

A relatively small proportion of breast cancers are caused by alterations in inherited genes that sharply increase the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. One of these genes has recently been receiving new attention: PALB2, a potent breast cancer susceptibility gene related to the better-known BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Someone who inherits a PALB2 mutation faces … Read more

What are the Molecular Subtypes of Breast Cancer?

Treatment for breast cancer is generally based on the type of breast cancer, its stage, and other factors. Increasingly, care teams are devising treatment plans by looking at the molecular subtype of each breast cancer. The various subtypes of breast cancer behave and grow in different ways, and can be divided based on different genes … 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

BRCA Testing: What You Need to Know

What is the BRCA gene? BRCA1 and BRCA2 play a big role in preventing cancer. They belong to a class of genes called tumor suppressors, which ensure that breast, ovarian, and other types of cells don’t grow or divide too rapidly or uncontrollably. BRCA testing checks for mutations in either gene, and can help people decide … Read more

For Young Mom with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Clinical Trial is a Life-Saver

As head of marketing for a leading international news agency, Kelly Ives routinely worked with journalists across the globe. When it came to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), however, it was her own reporting skills that led Ives to a life-changing treatment. Ives was a 37-year-old mom with a career and three young children, including an … 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