The Cell that Caused Melanoma: Cancer’s Surprise Origins, Caught in Action

This post originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s science and clinical innovation blog. It’s long been a mystery why some of our cells can have mutations associated with cancer, yet are not truly cancerous. Now researchers have, for the first time, watched a cancer spread from a single cell in a live animal, and … Read more

What Is CTLA-4 and How Does it Work in Treating Metastatic Melanoma?

Since the early 2000s, when Dana-Farber scientists discovered that many cancer cells carry “checkpoint” proteins that ward off an immune system attack on tumors, a great deal of research has focused on the development and testing of agents capable of blocking those proteins. In many patients, such agents have sent cancers into long-term remissions. A checkpoint … Read more

Remission of Jimmy Carter’s Melanoma Shows Potential of Immunotherapy for Cancer

Former President Jimmy Carter’s announcement earlier this week that he is free of the melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain may be the highest-profile example yet of the promise of a new form of cancer treatment that unleashes an immune system attack on the disease. Carter, 91, was treated with radiation therapy … Read more

Does Having More Moles Increase My Risk of Melanoma?

Moles are benign growths on the skin that sometimes become cancerous. But what exactly is the connection between moles and melanoma, the most aggressive skin cancer? While it’s true that people with many moles should be screened more frequently by a dermatologist, scientists are learning that the mole-melanoma connection isn’t so straightforward. For example, a … Read more

What is a Checkpoint Inhibitor? Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Definition

An immune checkpoint inhibitor is a drug that unleashes an immune system attack on cancer cells. Often made of antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors act on the immune system, therefore such drugs are known as immunotherapies. How do checkpoint inhibitors work? Checkpoint inhibitors seek to overcome one of cancer’s main defenses against an immune system attack. Immune … Read more

Melanoma – What’s the Latest?

Sun safety applies to everyone, regardless of skin color, gender, or age. That was the message emphasized in a recent live video webchat with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) dermatologist Jennifer Lin, MD. During the chat, Lin answered questions about the latest in melanoma treatment and prevention. “The bottom line is that UV radiation … Read more

Can Kids Get Melanoma? What Parents Need to Know

Medically reviewed by Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, MD Although melanoma is more commonly found in adults, childhood and adolescent melanoma affects approximately 300 children in the U.S. each year. Thankfully, the incidence rate has started to decrease in recent years. While melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer in adults, skin cancer in children is almost … Read more