What’s the Latest on E-Cigarettes and Cancer?

Claiming that use of electronic cigarettes among young people is reaching “epidemic proportions,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has undertaken a range of measures to ensure compliance with laws banning sales to minors and is considering toughening its stance toward manufacturers that fail to prevent widespread youth use of their products. JUUL, a new … Continued

Rugby Player-Turned-Researcher Seeks Mechanisms Behind Prostate Cancer Metastases

Leigh Ellis, PhD, once seemed destined for a career intercepting passes as a professional rugby player. Now, the Dana-Farber researcher is devising plays to intercept prostate cancer cells before they become metastatic. These tactics could also potentially slow other genitourinary diseases, including kidney cancer. Ellis’ laboratory works to better understand the underlying genetic and epigenetic … Continued

“Active Loading” Technology Speeds up Single Cell Drug Testing Devices

High-tech devices that flow cancer cells over a miniaturized “scale” to measure changes in the weight of single living cells are increasingly being used to test the susceptibility of cancer cells to different drugs. The devices are so sensitive that they can measure a change in growth rate of a cell within hours or days … Continued

Signs and Symptoms of Pediatric Kidney Tumors

The majority of people are born with two kidneys, which are located on each side of the spine below the ribcage. They filter blood and make urine, and also produce hormones that regulate blood pressure, generate red blood cells, and help maintain strong and healthy bones. Pediatric kidney (renal) tumors occur when malignant (cancer) cells … Continued

Living for Today, Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient Has ‘All I Need’

Krista Lawrence likes to joke with her two adult children that they don’t need to get married and have their own kids just because she has metastatic breast cancer. In fact, thanks to her excellent response to a clinical trial at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, Lawrence is enjoying each … Continued

After 80 Years, Genetic Causes of Diamond-Blackfan Anemia Come Into View

This post was originally published on Vector, Boston Children Hospital’s science and clinical innovation blog. In 1938, Louis K. Diamond, MD, and Kenneth Blackfan, MD, at Boston Children’s Hospital described a severe congenital anemia that they termed “hypoplastic” (literally, “underdeveloped”) because of the bone marrow’s inability to produce mature, functioning red blood cells. Eighty years … Continued

Pediatric Leukemia Survivor Having a Ball After CAR T-Cell Therapy

After undergoing a promising new treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Cole Malone is back to doing what he loves: playing on a flag football team with his twin brother, Michael. Cole and Michael Malone, who are 14, already know plenty about teamwork. Michael served as a perfect-match donor when Cole underwent a stem cell … Continued

How Has Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancers Advanced Recently?

Scientists have made numerous gains recently in treating gastrointestinal malignancies, which include cancers of the colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, liver, esophagus, and related tissues. Some advances are reflected in the approval of new drug therapies or changing practice to use existing drugs more effectively. In other cases, protocols are being revised to reduce toxic … Continued

Exceptional Immunotherapy Response Triggers Search for the Cause

Six years’ worth of repeated surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy with three different agents failed to halt the growth of Frances Zichichi’s brain tumor. As it kept recurring and more surgeries were required, Zichichi lost the use of her left side. Eventually the cancer formed masses under her scalp, causing pain, which was dulled only with … Continued

Menthol Cigarettes: 4 Common Questions Answered

Menthol cigarettes and regular cigarettes have a similar design, but menthol cigarettes use menthol additives either within the tobacco or, in certain brands, within or near the cigarette filter to release a burst of menthol flavor while smoking the cigarette. Regular cigarettes not labeled as containing menthol may also contain small but detectable quantities of … Continued

Does an Elevated PSA Level Mean I Have Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer­­­­ is a disease that forms in the tissues of the prostate, a male gland just below the bladder which is partly responsible for making the fluid that is part of semen. Prostate cancer forms within cells in the prostate. The disease takes a variable course from patient to patient. Some prostate cancers spread … Continued

CRISPR-Cas9 Screen Opens New Targets for Ewing Sarcoma, Other Childhood Cancers

This post originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. While the genetic mutations driving adult cancers can sometimes be targeted with drugs, most pediatric cancers lack good targets. That’s because their driving genetic alterations often create fusion proteins that aren’t easy for drugs to attack. “This is one reason why it is notoriously hard … Continued

8 Stories of Hope from 2018

We featured the stories of many inspirational Dana-Farber patients in 2018. Here are eight that embody the word “hope.” In early 2018, CAR T-cell therapy put Sandra Linberg, a 75-year-old lymphoma patient, into complete remission. Linberg had been previously treated for advanced non-Hodgkin lymphoma with standard chemotherapy, but the cancer recurred. Now, after only a month … Continued

Circadian Rhythms and Cancer: What’s the Connection?

Circadian rhythms describe the roughly 24-hour cycle that many of our life-sustaining processes operate on. In humans, as in all animals, circadian rhythms regulate hundreds of activities, from sleep patterns to body temperature to digestion. Life in industrialized societies can play havoc with natural circadian cycles, which are most strongly influenced by changes in light … Continued

Recipe: Apple Cider Sparkler

One of the biggest questions people have is how they can still eat tasty foods and also stay on track with their nutrition goals. To cut back on or eliminate alcohol, you can modify cocktails by swapping out wine or champagne with carbonated water and fresh fruits. If you are going to enjoy a glass of … Continued

Targeting Tumor Heterogeneity To Reduce Treatment Resistance

One of the biggest challenges in treating cancer is that the cells making up a tumor – say a breast or lung tumor – are enormously diverse, or heterogeneous. This tumor heterogeneity can be both genetic, meaning the DNA in the tumor cells differs from one cell to the next, and epigenetic, meaning that the … Continued

Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer: One Mom’s Story

When Stacy Hanson was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in early 2017, she immediately assumed she had no viable treatment options. Now that she is living a full, active lifestyle with her incurable yet treatable disease, she wants others to know that they can, too. Hanson, 49, is on a clinical trial that she began … Continued

Recipe: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

For your homemade mac and cheese, take out the typical roux (butter, milk, flour) and replace it with pureed butternut squash. You’ll have a lower calorie meal, without losing the lusciousness of this classic rich dish. And there’s a bonus: you’ll be adding phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Servings: 4 Ingredients 2 cups uncooked, whole … Continued

Personalizing Treatment: The Latest in Breast Cancer Research

One of the primary goals of breast cancer research is to personalize the treatment of the disease, tailoring therapies to the specific characteristics of each patient’s cancer.  “The future of breast cancer therapy is tied to the idea of individualizing treatment for each patient—not only to the stage and subtype of the cancer but also … Continued