Myeloma Study Makes the Case for a New Standard for Predicting Long-Term Outcome

As new treatments for multiple myeloma have extended patient survival—from an average of three years to more than 10 in some cases—physicians and researchers face a new challenge: how to predict a drug’s long-term effectiveness? How to tell, early on, whether one drug is likely to extend patients’ lives more than another? At Dana-Farber’s Jerome Lipper … Continued

5 Common Breast Cancer Myths

By Rachel Freedman, MD, MPH 1. I can’t get breast cancer because it doesn’t run in my family.  This is a very common myth. Although family history is very important in understanding one’s risk for breast cancer and although having multiple family members with breast cancer may elevate your risk, most breast cancer is not … Continued

Trials Open New Avenues of Endometrial Cancer Treatment

In recent years, there has been a dearth of clinical trials studying new approaches to how endometrial cancer, which forms in the lining of the uterus, is treated. That is changing rapidly, however, as basic research into the disease spurs the testing of novel drugs and drug combinations. A host of clinical trials—including four led … Continued

What is Cannabidiol (CBD)? Common Questions Answered

By Benjamin S. Kematick, PharmD, BCACP A clinical pharmacy specialist in Dana-Farber’s Division of Palliative Care CBD is a phytocannabinoid, a naturally occurring compound found in the flower of cannabis species. CBD is different from the better-known phytocannabinoid delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in that it does not produce an intoxicating effect. Like CBD, THC is found in … Continued

Research Update: Scientists Present Novel Ways of Treating Blood Cancers and Diseases

Dana-Farber scientists presented an abundance of new research at the 60th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition, held December 1-4 in San Diego. Their research spanned the gamut of hematological diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and myelodysplastic syndrome—as well as treatment modalities, such as stem cell transplantation and CAR T-cell therapy. A … Continued

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer?

Endometrial cancer—sometimes referred to as uterine cancer—is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs. Approximately 63,000 diagnosed in the U.S. alone each year. Mainly affecting postmenopausal women, endometrial cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of the endometrium, or the lining of the uterus. Symptoms of endometrial cancer include: Bleeding or … Continued

How Is Chemotherapy Prepared?

Chemotherapy infusion is one of the most common and effective cancer treatments. It has been in use as a cancer treatment since the 1940s, when Dana-Farber founder Sidney Farber, MD, used it to achieve the first clinical remission ever reported for childhood leukemia. For a treatment that has been around such a long time, you … Continued

Breast Cancer Survivor Looks To the Future—And a Potential Family

In the summer of 2018, Kelli O’Hara was diagnosed with breast cancer—a difficult diagnosis for her to grapple with, since she lost her own grandmother to breast cancer when she was a child. But because of advancements in cancer research, as well as the care she received at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s … Continued

ctDNA: Bringing ‘liquid biopsies’ to pediatric solid tumors

This post originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. Our blood carries tiny amounts of DNA from broken-up cells. If we have cancer, some of that DNA comes from tumor cells. Studies performed with adult cancers have shown that this circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) may offer crucial clues about tumor genetic mutations and how … Continued

What Does it Mean to be in Remission for Cancer?

Cancer is said to be in remission when the signs and symptoms of the disease have decreased. If the cancer is a solid mass, such as a tumor in the lung or breast, remission means the mass has shrunk. If it is a hematologic (blood-related) cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma, remission denotes a drop … Continued

New Research Effort Aims to Improve Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease

Emmanuel “Manny” Johnson, Jr., shares many loves with his little brother, Aiden—from basketball to video games. One thing he wishes they did not share is sickle cell disease (SCD), so Manny is playing a role in a new effort to improve treatment for patients like seven-year-old Aiden, himself, and others living with the inherited blood … Continued

From Slovakia to Boston: One Researcher’s Journey to Dana-Farber

In recounting her odyssey from Slovakian high school exchange student to Dana-Farber principal investigator, Zuzana Tothova, MD, PhD, often says modestly, “I was very lucky.” Perhaps. But it’s also true that, at pivotal points in her journey, Tothova was recognized as a person of exceptional promise, with mentors encouraging her and taking extra steps to … Continued

Is Spotting Between Periods a Sign of Cancer?

Vaginal bleeding—also known as spotting—between periods is common among women who have not yet reached menopause. Most commonly, it is caused by hormonal imbalances, stress, and vaginal dryness. Vaginal bleeding in post-menopausal women can, in some cases, be an early sign of cancer and should always be investigated further. Spotting is the primary symptom of … Continued

Immunotherapy Shows Benefit in Hard-to-Treat Breast Cancer

While immunotherapy has brought an impressive new option to several types of cancer, drugs that harness the immune system to fight cancer haven’t shown a significant benefit in treating breast cancer—until now. According to a new clinical trial report, published in Th­­e New England Journal of Medicine, a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy achieved better … Continued

What is Wilms Tumor and How Is It Treated?

Wilms tumor is the most common type of pediatric kidney cancer. It is most common in children age five and younger, but it can also occur from infancy to age 15. As with any cancer, the tumor can spread beyond its initial location. What are the causes and symptoms of Wilms tumor? Occasionally, a child … Continued

For Lymphoma Patient, Research Leads to Stem Cell Transplant

A troublesome cough led Patty Reid on a nine-months-long medical odyssey that resulted in a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Just as the then-60-year-old was preparing for a stem cell transplant in late 2016, a new research discovery prompted her doctors to change the type of transplant Reid received—greatly lessening her risk for another cancer … Continued

Study Finds Source of PARP Inhibitor Drug Resistance

It may not be sporting to hit someone when they’re down, but when the foe is a cancer cell, there’s no merit in mercy. That’s the principle behind drugs known as PARP inhibitors. Tumor cells that lack effective BRCA genes have difficulty repairing certain kinds of DNA damage, potentially leaving them vulnerable to agents that … Continued

Thalidomide reveals path for targeting “undruggable” transcription factors for cancer treatment

Thalidomide, a morning-sickness drug recalled in the 1960s because it caused devastating birth defects, is now commonly used to treat multiple myeloma and other blood cancers. It and its chemical relatives work by causing cells to destroy two proteins — members of a larger family of conventionally “undruggable” proteins called transcription factors — that feature … Continued

After Two Cancer Diagnoses, Cancer Survivor Finds A Light at the End of the Tunnel

There was a time when Georgette Hannoush couldn’t imagine a bright future. In a four-year span, the mother of four—including triplets—was diagnosed with two different types of cancer. But because of her team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Hannoush has been in remission for more than three years—and she credits her faith and the people she … Continued