Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a team of international collaborators have identified a genetic abnormality that makes ovarian tumor cells initially sensitive to a common chemotherapy agent, cisplatin, and then resistant to the drug over time.
Radiofrequency ablation can ease pain, slow tumor growth, and even destroy tumors in patients with advanced lung cancer, a new study shows. ?We treated 12 patients with thoracic tumors using radiofreqency ablation, which is the use of extreme heat to treat tumors,? says Eric vanSonnenberg, MD, chief of radiology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and visiting professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and lead author of the study. The patients either had maximal applications of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy or were unfit for these therapies anymore, Dr. vanSonnenberg says.
Scientists have used a powerful gene-mapping technique to produce the clearest picture yet of all the genes of an animal ? the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans (better known as C. elegans). Scientists believe the same technique may be used to bring the current, somewhat blurry picture of the human genome into sharper focus. The study, in Nature Genetics, describes an effort to locate and precisely identify all of the approximately 19,000 genes that have been predicted to exist in the genome of C. elegans.
The benefit of some cancer vaccines may be boosted by treating patients with an antibody that blocks a key protein on immune system T cells, according to a small, preliminary study led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The study tested the effect of a single injection of the antibody MDX-CTLA4 in nine patients who had previously been treated with cancer vaccines for either metastatic melanoma or metastatic ovarian cancer. The result, in every patient who had received a particular kind of vaccine, was widespread death of cancer cells and an increase in the number of immune system cells within the tumors ? evidence of a potent immune system attack.
In the process of figuring out why an anti-cancer drug is effective in treating patients with a rare blood disorder known as hypereosinophilic syndrome, or HES, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have shown that the condition may in fact be a form of cancer.
A relatively brief screening test can give caregivers a good indication of which cancer survivors are emotionally distressed and may benefit from further psychological evaluation, according to new research by a team of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators. In a study in the March 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the researchers found that childhood cancer survivors whose screening scores indicated they were dissatisfied with their physical appearance, were in poor physical health, or had been treated with head radiation had an increased risk of experiencing psychological distress.
Scientists hunting for genes responsible for acute lymphoblastic leukemia have a new compass: a system that uses powerful genetic techniques in a zebrafish model. Researchers report they have created a zebrafish model that will help scientists pinpoint genes that accelerate or delay the spread of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a disease responsible for 400 deaths – about half of them, children – in the United States each year. The model may also provide a faster, more direct way of testing novel drugs against the disease.
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have made a discovery that could help solve a mystery in cancer biology: how a sunburn acquired during a childhood day at the beach can develop into a deadly tumor decades later. The scientists report in the Feb. 4 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays target a series of biochemical signals inside the young skin cell, impairing the cell’s ability to control its proliferation. The paper currently is available on the journal’s web site.
Scientists have found that much of the widespread damage that the rare genetic disease ataxia telangiectasia, or AT, wreaks on the body results from the progressive shortening of telomeres, the structures that cap the ends of a cell’s chromosomes. In genetically altered mice, the researchers found that the shortening of telomeres led to a “crisis” that disrupted chromosomes “like a hand grenade thrown into the cell,” as one scientist put it. The resulting cellular chaos was manifested throughout the rodents’ bodies by the loss of reparative stem cells that different organs normally have in reserve, producing symptoms of premature aging such as hair loss and slow wound healing, and early death.
Researchers have generated a mouse model of a new type of tumor suppressor gene that triggers a rapidly advancing cancer that affects children. The discovery of the fast-onset cancers that result from inactivation of the gene and the technique used to generate the model will likely prove useful in studying genes involved in other forms of cancer.