Rizwan Romee, MD: A Researcher Fascinated with the Immune System

Rizwan Romee, MD, is a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber and treats patients with advanced blood cancers such as leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. He is also the director of the Haploidentical Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Dana-Farber and principal investigator of the Romee Lab for NK Cell Gene Manipulation and Therapy. Why did you decide to … Continued

Glioblastoma Patient Enjoys Steady Health and New Adventures

If you happened to be looking for Alex Epshteyn this past winter, you might have found him on the ski slopes. The Charlestown, Massachusetts resident took up the sport just two years ago and has since been enthusiastically sharpening his skills. “I’m overcoming my fear and making progress, which is a great feeling,” Epshteyn says. … Continued

How is Rectal Cancer Different from Colon Cancer?

Cancers of the colon and rectum are often lumped together as “colorectal cancer” because they have many features in common. However, there are important differences in the structure of the colon and rectum and how cancers of each behave and are treated. What is the difference between the colon and the rectum? The colon, or … Continued

mRNA Takes Center Stage in COVID-19 Vaccine and Cancer Research

Having come to fame as the basis of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines for COVID-19, messenger RNA — or mRNA — is in many ways the molecule of the moment. Its newfound prominence is also raising its profile as a powerful tool in cancer research. Scientists are using it learn how cancer cells sometimes disarm … Continued

Dana-Farber Opens New Doors for Patient Battling Metastatic Colon Cancer

Paul Rawate has never been one to sit still. Whether it was getting his blackbelt in Taekwondo at just 8 years old or growing up to run a successful business, the 45-year-old has always kept his eye on the next challenge. In 2018, Rawate faced an entirely new obstacle when he was diagnosed with metastatic … Continued

Researchers Focus on How to Invigorate ‘Exhausted’ T Cells in Immunotherapy

Despite the sometimes-dramatic success of new cancer immunotherapies like checkpoint inhibitor drugs and CAR T cells, thus far only a minority of patients have responded or gained long-lasting benefits. A major reason for the inconsistent results of immunotherapy is a phenomenon known as “T-cell exhaustion” — a weakening or loss of tumor-killing function by T … Continued

Study Uncovers Potent Immunotherapy Approach to Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Immune therapies declare open season on cancer, rousing immune system cells to take up an attack on tumors. But which immune cells join the hunt, which sit it out, and what happens within immune cells that causes them to go on the offensive? Such questions are especially relevant when immunotherapies show only limited effectiveness against … Continued

The Color of Cancer: The Importance of Advocating for Health Equity

Although disparities in the treatment of cancer and other diseases have been an endemic part of the American healthcare system, it took a pandemic to expose how pervasive they are. The high rates of COVID-19 in many communities of color drew attention to the broader health inequities affecting these groups. In recognition of Minority Cancer … Continued

Challenges of Navigating Cancer as a Member of the LGBTQ+ Community

LGBTQ+ individuals can face a host of challenges in their day-to-day lives, including discrimination, hostile words and actions, and ignorance. When it comes to cancer, LGBTQ+ people often come up against additional hurdles that are not faced by those who are cisgender (meaning those who identify with their sex assigned at birth) and/or heterosexual. The … Continued

Looking for Cancer’s Achilles Heel: The Pediatric Cancer Dependency Map

Thanks to developments in precision medicine, some adult cancers are now treated with designer drugs that target the genetic mutations that caused them. But most children with cancer have not reaped the same benefits. Unlike adult cancers, childhood cancers carry few genetic mutations. And the mutations these tumors do have are typically harder to make … Continued

What is Paget Disease of the Breast?

Paget disease of the breast occurs when cancer cells within the breast grow along the sides of the milk ducts and exit onto the skin of the nipple and surrounding circle of skin called the areola. It can arise at any age associated with breast cancer and usually involves a single breast. Although the hallmarks … Continued

How Much Radiation Do Breast Cancer Patients Need?

Radiation therapy is one of the pillars of breast cancer treatment and may be used at any stage of the disease. It is primarily used in one of two ways: to decrease the chance of the cancer recurring following surgery, or to palliate symptoms of metastatic disease. What is radiation therapy? Radiation consists of beams of … Continued

Cancer Care in Transgender Youth Patients: Things to Consider

Increasingly, transgender youth and adults are undergoing (or planning) gender-affirming surgery and taking masculinizing or feminizing hormones. If they have cancer, these treatments can have implications for their care, and cancer treatments in turn can have implications for their gender-affirming care. Oncologists should take gender identity into account in making decisions about cancer treatment. This … Continued

Immunotherapy for Ovarian Cancer: What’s New?

By Ursula Matulonis, MD, Director, Gynecologic Oncology, Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Immunotherapy, which has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer, is undergoing extensive study in patients with ovarian cancer. Although much of this research is in the early stages, it has produced some intriguing findings about the promise … Continued

Bispecific Antibodies: How Can They Treat Cancer?

Many of the drugs that have become mainstays of cancer treatment are based on antibodies — artificial proteins that latch onto a molecular target called an antigen. When an antibody binds to an antigen on a cancer cell, it attacks the cell or triggers its destruction by immune system process. A relatively new twist on … Continued

What are TILs and How Are They Used in Cancer Treatment?

A form of immune cell therapy for cancer known as tumor infiltrating lymphocyte, or TIL, therapy, involves removing immune T cells from a piece of the patient’s tumor — where the T cells have succeeded in recognizing the cancer — expanding them outside the body, and re-infusing them by the billions to fight the disease. … Continued

Young Father Gets the Cancer Treatment He Needs During COVID-19

Chris Devin never expected to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma at the age of 45 — and being told he had cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic was far from ideal.  But Devin quickly learned that he could rely on his team at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) for the best treatment options. While COVID-19 … Continued

EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer: What You Need to Know

While most lung cancers are linked to tobacco smoking, a minority — about 15 percent in the United States — of non-small cell lung cancers are driven by a random mutation in a gene called EGFR, which helps cells grow and divide. What is EGFR-mutant lung cancer? A mutation in the gene EGFR, which stands … Continued

What is Osteosarcoma and How Is It Treated?

Researchers at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center are leading a number of studies in osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that starts in the bones.