New clue to lupus: Failed autoimmune suppression mechanism

Bar Harbor, Maine — Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Cambridge, Mass., in collaboration with Jackson Laboratory scientists, have identified a regulatory defect that drives lupus.
Correcting the defect “may represent an effective t…

Multivitamin use doesn’t impact colon cancer outcomes

BOSTON–Patients with colon cancer who used multivitamins during and after being treated with post-surgical chemotherapy did not reduce the risk of the cancer returning or their dying from it, according to researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Ins…

Study sheds new light on how common painkillers prevent colon cancer

Building on earlier studies that have shown that common painkillers known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can reduce the risk of colon cancer in healthy people, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified a mechanism by which NSAIDs inhibit the development of colon cancer. Compared with normal cells, colorectal cancer cells have abnormally high levels of an immune system protein, IL-6. David Frank, MD, PhD, and his Dana-Farber colleagues have discovered that IL-6 triggers malignant growth by activating a protein called STAT1, which transmits signals that prevent the normal scheduled death of cells in the colon.

Antibody therapy can increase the effectiveness of cancer vaccine

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.

Rare blood disease shown to be a form of treatable cancer

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.

Screening test can help identify cancer survivors at risk for emotional distress

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.

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