Basic Science Discovery Leads to Clinical Trial for Patients with Chemotherapy-Resistant Form of Ovarian Cancer

Dana-Farber scientists recently uncovered a potential vulnerability in a form of ovarian cancer notoriously resistant to chemotherapy. Now they’ve opened a clinical trial involving a drug that targets that susceptibility in patients with the disease. The impetus for their research is a type of ovarian cancer with excess copies of the cyclinE1 gene (abbreviated CCNE1). … Continued

CAR T-Cell Therapy for Pediatric Patients: The Latest Updates

Since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the fall of 2017, a form of the powerful and promising therapy known as CAR T-cell therapy has been used to treat certain young patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who have relapsed or didn’t respond to standard regimens. Today, researchers … Continued

Prostate Cancer Patient Thriving 17 Years After Diagnosis

When he was 67 years old, Barry Polsky said “I do” for the first time in his life when he married his wife, Randi. One year later, the retired high school teacher and lifelong baseball fan was offered one of his dream jobs as a tour guide at Fenway Park. And earlier this year, at … Continued

What are PFASs and Are They Linked to Cancer?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are chemicals whose ability to repel oil and water has led them to be used in a wide variety of consumer products, such as non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, and food containers that resist grease and oil. They’re highly stable chemicals, so they can persist … Continued

Colorectal Cancer Myths and Common Questions

As of 2019, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society — but survival after diagnosis has been gradually increasing in the past decade due to advances in treatment. However, since 1994, cases of young onset colorectal cancer have increased … Continued

What’s the Difference Between Cancer Grade and Cancer Stage?

When solid tumors are diagnosed, they are often assigned a grade and a stage. Both factors are key considerations when physicians devise a treatment plan. Tumors are assigned a grade based on the appearance of their cells under a microscope: Low-grade tumor cells resemble normal cells more closely than high-grade tumor cells do. The grade … Continued

Research Clears Up Mystery About Most Common Cancer Gene

Medically reviewed by Benjamin Ebert, MD, PhD In the rogue’s gallery of cancer mutations, the Most Wanted are found in TP53, the most frequently mutated gene in cancer and in some ways the most ominous. In patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or a myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), for example, the presence of a TP53 mutation … Continued

What African American Men Need to Know About Prostate Cancer

African-Americans have a 60 percent higher incidence of prostate cancer compared to other ethnic groups, and a 150 percent higher risk of dying from it — in part because blacks tend to have a more aggressive form. They are also more likely to develop prostate cancer at an earlier age and to have a more … Continued

Does Burnt Food Cause Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Stacy Kennedy MPH, RD/LDN, CSO Have you ever left a meal in the oven for too long or set the toaster too high? Maybe you’ve fried something in a pan and really fried it. Burning food is a common occurrence — but can these seemingly minor incidents put you at an increased … Continued

For Glioblastoma Patient, Long-Term Survival and ‘Brain Fame’

Heather Auger’s oncologist, Patrick Wen, MD, likes to say that his patient has a “famous brain.” For more than a decade after Auger was treated at Dana-Farber for recurrent glioblastoma, the tumor that once threatened her life has not returned. It’s still a rare outcome for patients with this type of brain tumor, but one … Continued

Pediatric Kidney Cancer Survivor Pays it Forward

Three-year-old Lia Scagnoli skipped across the “Bridge of Hope” connecting Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute each time she had a chemotherapy infusion or other treatment for pediatric kidney cancer at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. Caregivers offering equal parts love, hope, and fun diversions gave her and her family a feeling of confidence that … Continued

Making the Immune System Work Against Cancer: A Pioneering Researcher’s Journey

Bone marrow transplantation, which was first developed in the 1970s, was conceived as a way of dealing with the effects of high-dose chemotherapy for leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. The large doses killed diseased blood cells throughout the body but also destroyed the bone marrow, birthplace of new blood cells. By transplanting bone marrow … Continued

How to Live (and Thrive) with an Ostomy

Medically reviewed by Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH An ostomy, or stoma, is a surgical opening in the skin that functions as an alternate way to remove waste products from the body. An ostomy may be necessary for a variety of reasons, including bowel disease, birth defects, and cancer. There are three different types of ostomy: … Continued

Grandfather Gets Back to Life and Nature after CAR T-Cell Therapy for Lymphoma

Jerry Jalbert is always up for new adventures. He did not expect that non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) would be one of them, but with the help of CAR T-cell therapy that keeps his cancer at bay, the 73-year-old professional photographer-turned-baker-turned-forest checkpoint operator is continuing to enjoy life’s many journeys alongside his wife, Ethel. “We are not … Continued

Immunotherapy for Pediatric Solid Tumors: What’s the Latest?

Medically reviewed by Natalie Collins, MD, PhD New treatments that spur the immune system against cancer have entered the clinic to combat some forms of pediatric blood cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). One form of immunotherapy, CAR T cells, has been approved for children and young adults with ALL. In treating solid tumors … Continued

Living with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome is Using Knowledge as Power

Breast cancer survivor Jennifer Perry is at high risk of additional cancers during her lifetime because she carries an inherited the mutation for Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). But experts at the new Li-Fraumeni Syndrome and TP53+ Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute can help her manage that risk. While there is no treatment for LFS — a … Continued

Is There Evidence That GMOs Can Cause Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD/LDN, CSO While there is limited scientific evidence demonstrating that eating organic food can decrease cancer risk, what is the evidence regarding its counterpart, GMOs? For now, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that consuming GMOs can increase your cancer risk. What are GMOs? GMO stands for genetically modified organism; … Continued

Navigating a Cancer Diagnosis One Quote at a Time

For a seven week stretch in 2018, Steve Kiley began each day with an inspirational quote. It was all part of his morning routine: he’d wake up, get ready for the day, and pull a sticky note off of the giant calendar created by his wife, Becky. The calendar helped Kiley count down his seven … Continued

Exploring Targeted Treatments for Children with Low-Grade Brain Tumors

A version of this article was published on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. Children diagnosed with low-grade astrocytomas, the most common type of pediatric brain tumor, have more than a 90 percent chance of being cured. Yet in the process, the standard treatments (neurosurgery and chemotherapy) for this form of tumor can cause serious … Continued