Is Itching a Sign of Pancreatic Cancer?

Itching that occurs periodically is not a sign of pancreatic cancer. In fact, most people diagnosed with the disease will not experience this symptom. A potential symptom of pancreatic cancer is progressive itching that intensifies over a few weeks and is accompanied by jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin). If you notice changes to … Continued

New Drug Regimen Proves Ideal for Patient with Rare Genetic Disease

In golf, the best shot isn’t always the one that goes the furthest. Sometimes, a golfer should “lay up,” or play conservatively. Exchanging power for precision and avoiding potential hazards can set them up for what’s next. Avid golfer Evan Cornelius, 20, understands this better than most. So when it came time for him to … Continued

Immunotherapy for Blood Cancers: What’s New?

Immunotherapy for cancer has made some of its biggest inroads against hematologic malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma, with treatments such as checkpoint inhibitors and CAR T-cell therapies producing long-lasting remissions in some patients. But there’s broad agreement that the potential of such therapies has only begun to be tapped and that combining immunotherapy drugs … Continued

Approval of First ‘Epigenetic’ Drug for a Solid Tumor is Milestone

The approval of the drug tazemetostat to treat epithelioid sarcomas is a victory for patients and a vindication of the idea that success may take different forms in different cancers. It’s also an affirmation of the value of research at Dana-Farber that began in the early 2000s with basic science discoveries and progressed into clinical … Continued

Do Hair Dyes and Straighteners Cause Cancer?

Medially reviewed by Wendy Chen, MD, MPH In 2019, the International Journal of Cancer published a study concluding that women — especially black women — who use either permanent hair dye or chemical straighteners are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. But more work still needs to be done before researchers can confidently … Continued

Can Men Get Breast Cancer? Facts You Should Know

Medically reviewed by Jose Pablo Leone, MD Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, but men can also be diagnosed with the disease. How common is breast cancer in men? While male breast cancer is rare, according to the National Cancer Institute about 2,000 men will receive this diagnosis every year, … Continued

What is a Living Drug?

“Living” drugs consist of fully functional cells that have been selected and often modified to treat specific diseases, such as cancer. CAR T-cell therapy and therapeutic vaccines fall into this category.

Does Having Cancer Once Increase the Risk of Developing Other Cancers?

People who have had cancer may in some cases have a higher than average risk of developing a new cancer — that is, a cancer not related to the spread, or metastasis, of the original tumor. While the vast majority of people diagnosed with cancer do not develop a different malignancy later in life, it’s … Continued

What is CAR T-Cell Therapy and How Does It Work?

CAR T-cell therapy is a kind of cellular therapy, which uses a patient’s own immune system cells to rally an attack on cancer. They’re made by removing a specific set of cells from the blood, modifying them in a lab to intensify the immune system’s natural response to cancer, and re-injecting them into the patient. … Continued

How Treatment Works for CAR T-Cell Therapy Patients

CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses specially modified T cells – part of the body’s defense system against disease – to attack cancer. CAR T-cell therapy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as standard therapy for some patients with: Aggressive, relapsed and/or refractory diffuse large B cell … Continued

Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer: From a Sprint to a Marathon

When Kirsten Erlandsen was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2008, she approached her treatment like it was one of her road races. The mother of two knew that completing each treatment session brought her one stop closer to the “finish line” and her goal of becoming cancer-free. However, after a year of running … Continued

Researchers Identify New Source of Drug Resistance in Prostate Cancer

For designers of targeted drugs, the biggest bullseye in prostate cancer has been the androgen receptor — a specialized net on prostate cells that snares androgen molecules to spur the cells’ growth. Drugs that block, or inhibit, the receptor can halt the cancer, but not all patients benefit from them, and nearly all those who … Continued

Can Lung Cancer Be Related to Air Pollution?

Medically reviewed by Michael Cheng, MD A report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), found that in 2010, air pollution was responsible for 223,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide. The findings were so striking that they prompted the agency, a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), to classify outdoor air pollution … Continued

Scientists Reveal How Lung Cancer Cancer Cells Avoid Death from Targeted Drugs

Perhaps the biggest challenge in precision cancer therapy is tumors’ nasty habit of rebounding after an initial attack with targeted drugs has shrunk them almost out of existence. Instead of vanishing completely, curing the patient, the tumors leave behind a small cadre of cells that slumber in a dormant state, only to return in a … Continued

For Families Facing Malignant Rhabdoid Tumors, Reasons to Hope

Watching her deftly maneuver a playground with a huge smile on her face makes it hard to imagine that Anabella Trillo, 3, once faced challenges far greater than a jungle gym. In fact, she has already endured surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and a stem cell transplant for one of the most aggressive pediatric cancers: a malignant … Continued

A Big Step Toward Curbing Graft-vs.-Host Disease After Bone Marrow Transplant

This post originally appeared on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. A drug used for rheumatoid arthritis has moved a step closer to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a desperately needed new use. The drug, abatacept, has gained FDA breakthrough therapy designation for preventing acute, severe graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients receiving bone … Continued

Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer: What’s New?

Prostate cancer can be treated by immunotherapy, and it was the first form of cancer for which a vaccine therapy — a treatment that stimulates the immune system to attack a disease — was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Provenge That vaccine, called Provenge, was cleared by the FDA in 2010 to treat … 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 has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer and is now undergoing testing in ovarian cancer. Clinical trials of drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors, which can unleash a potent immune system attack on cancer cells, have … Continued

Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer: What’s New?

“It has been the holy grail of oncology to develop potentially curative treatments for advanced common solid tumors, and it may now be on our doorstep for at least some patients,” says Bruce Johnson, MD, a thoracic oncologist and chief clinical research officer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.