New Options for First-Line Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Brown, MD Most patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) now have several options for first-line therapy, thanks to new clinical trial results and novel targeted agents. Many patients with CLL, a slowly progressive blood cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells, don’t need immediate treatment but … Read more

Cancer Mythbusters Episode #5: Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are scientific studies in which new treatments – drugs, diagnostic procedures, and other therapies – are tested to determine if they are safe and effective for patients. Nearly all cancer drugs in use today were tested and made available to patients through clinical trials, making them a crucial component of cancer research. But what does … Read more

The Latest Advances Against Hematologic Cancers

Treatment of blood-related, or hematologic, cancers is seizing on insights into the basic genetic wiring of cancer cells and the body’s system for finding and attacking those cells. Research presentations at the annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in December gave evidence of how broad, and rapid, the progress is. Targeted therapies, new combinations … Read more

What To Know About Precision Cancer Medicine [Infographic]

Precision cancer medicine is an evolving approach to cancer care that personalizes treatment based on each patient’s unique genetic mutations. Since 2011, Dana-Farber has used its Profile research project, in partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, to gather adult and pediatric patients’ tumor tissues and detect genetic alterations that may hold … Read more

How Do I Find The Right Clinical Trial For Me?

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether new treatments, diagnostic techniques, or disease-prevention strategies are safe and effective in patients. They may be an option when patients no longer benefit from standard therapies. They may also offer an alternative to standard therapies, particularly if the agent being tested is likely to be more effective … Read more

Newborn Screening Saves Baby from “Bubble Boy” Disease – Before He Ever Gets Sick

Happy to have given birth in January 2015 to two seemingly healthy boys, Levi and Colton, after an uneventful pregnancy, Kala Looks gave little thought to the routine heel prick of newborn screening. At 23 and 24, she and her husband, Phillip, were high school sweethearts starting a family with a pair of fraternal twins. … Read more

Drug Prolongs Remissions in Some Relapsed Ovarian Cancers

Ed. note: Niraparib (Zejula) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 28, 2017, as a maintenance therapy for women with ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer. This post was originally published on Oct. 21, 2016. For women with relapsed ovarian cancer that responds to platinum-based chemotherapy, a drug that hampers … Read more

What Can Be Learned from Clinical Trials that Fail?

When a clinical trial shows that a new treatment is no better than the standard, it can be disappointing. But such outcomes yield valuable, potentially lifesaving information. Trials can “fail” if the experimental therapy doesn’t work better than current treatments. These “negative” outcomes are important for several reasons. They can spare patients false hope or … Read more

New Treatment Protocol Boosts Survival in Pediatric Neuroblastoma Patients

When Emily Coughlin complained of a sore knee in May 2009, doctors initially suspected Lyme disease. After antibiotics failed to relieve the pain, the girl, who was just shy of her fourth birthday, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer that begins in nerve cells outside the brain and usually affects children under 6. Though rare … Read more

Clinical Trial Helps Betsy Brauser Live with Ovarian Cancer

As researchers and clinicians in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber continue studying the benefits of a two-drug combination in slowing progression of recurrent ovarian cancer, one patient is as a beacon of hope for her caregivers – and for others facing the disease. Betsy Brauser, treated with standard chemotherapy near … Read more

In Precision Medicine, Pioneering Young Patient Teaches Veteran Doctor

Allison Schablein seems an unlikely candidate to teach medicine to Mark Kieran. She’s an 8–year-old New Hampshire second grader who loves basketball, hip hop, acrobatic dancing and jewelry. He’s a pediatric neuro-oncologist with a PhD in molecular biology, not to mention decades of clinical and research experience. But teach Kieran, Allison does. In December 2012, … Read more

Can Cancer Patients Participate in More Than One Clinical Trial at a Time?

Clinical trials are a key part of medical science’s effort to improve treatments for cancer patients. There are a variety of different types of trials, including therapeutic clinical trials, which test the safety and effectiveness of potential new agents in patients. Some patients participate in several therapeutic clinical trials, in succession, over the course of … Read more

Five Common Myths About Clinical Trials

Better cancer treatments depend on clinical trials of new drugs and other therapies, but in the United States, only 3 percent of cancer patients participate in these investigations of new therapies. Patients often hesitate to participate because they don’t understand the process or have misconceptions about what it means for them. “There’s a national lack … Read more

What is Liposarcoma?

Cancers known as sarcomas develop in the connective tissues, such as muscle, fat, and bone, that hold the body together. The type of sarcoma called liposarcoma originates in fat cells that have been driven by random DNA errors into malignant growth, forming tumors. George Demetri, MD, director of Dana-Farber’s Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology, … Read more