Approach Targets Macrophages in BRCA-Linked Breast Cancer

close up of cells
A cyclic immunofluorescence image of triple-negative breast cancer tissue. Shown are tumor cells (Keratin, white), macrophages (CD163, green; CD68, cyan), T cells (red) and nuclei (blue).

PARP inhibitors have become an important part of the arsenal for treating cancers caused by BRCA mutations — including breast cancer. Recently, clinical trials have begun looking at the combination of PARP inhibitors and immune checkpoint inhibitors in breast cancer, with the goal of making treatment more effective and longer lasting.

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Division Chiefs Look Back on an Unforgettable Year

Ali Tavakkoli, MD, and Richard Steven Blumberg, MDDespite the formidable challenges created by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital General and Gastrointestinal Surgery and Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy divisions celebrated substantial achievements in 2020.

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Studying New Approaches for Immunotherapy in Renal Cancer

illustration of organ

Immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitor drugs is an emerging treatment for renal cell carcinoma. Now investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital have reported the results from lab research looking at a potential new way to boost the immune system’s ability to fight cancer.

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Fresh Embryos From Fresh Donor Eggs Improve IVF Birth Rates

D5 Blastocyst
D5 Blastocyst

A retrospective study published by JAMA and conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that transferring fresh embryos grown from freshly retrieved donor eggs resulted in a higher live birth rate compared to frozen (cryopreserved and thawed) embryos from freshly retrieved donor eggs.

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Brigham’s Endocrinology Chief Reflects on Recent Successes

Ursula B. Kaiser, MD

Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension cares for patients with a wide range of hormonal and other related disorders, including diabetes, hypertension and thyroid disease. Division Chief Ursula B. Kaiser, MD, recently discussed some of her group’s accomplishments and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected physicians and other health care providers in the division.

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Optimizing Emergent and Long-Term Care for Aortic Dissection

Dr. Sabe on Aortic Dissections

Timely diagnosis of an acute aortic dissection is the first key step to saving a patient’s life. However, not all hospitals are equipped to handle the next critical step: administering timely treatment to reestablish true lumen flow in the aorta. In these cases, according to an invited expert review published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, rapid transfer of the patient to a center of excellence is advisable.

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Preventing Cancer-Associated Thrombosis

Blood clot in the superior vena cava
Blood clot in the superior vena cava associated with a central venous catheter in a 32-year-old woman with Lynch syndrome and advanced colon cancer.

Today’s cancer therapies are helping patients live longer. However, treatments including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and certain targeted and immunological therapies increase the risk of developing cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT). Physicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Center are working with colleagues at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) to help prevent CAT and minimize its effect on timely cancer care.

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Investigating Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19

COVID-19 cell

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walter W. Chan, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Motility at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and colleagues in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy, have led several clinical studies investigating COVID-19 infection presentation, risk factors and outcomes on the gastrointestinal (GI) system.

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New Liquid System Sustains Drug Delivery Over Time

intestinal tissue
The synthetic lining, which has been applied to the pig intestinal tissue on the right, is designed to stick to the intestines.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new way to deliver drugs and modulate nutrition through a synthetic coating in the small intestine. A proof-of-concept study for the gastrointestinal synthetic epithelial linings (GSEL) system was conducted under grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and results were published in Science Translational Medicine.

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Taking Tumor Boards to the Next Level

Tumor board meeting

While traditional tumor boards are common at most academic medical centers, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) has taken its 10-year-old tumor board to the next level by integrating molecular pathology into their discussions.

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