A rare genetic mutation discovered by a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital could hold the clues to developing new management strategies for pancreatic cancer. Sahar Nissim, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the Brigham’s Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy & Genetics Divisions, found the mutation in a single family with a strong history of pancreatic cancer and published his findings in Nature Genetics. He said the discovery may have broader implications for all patients with pancreatic cancer, regardless of whether or not they have the mutation.
Engineered cellular treatments like chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy are changing the long-term outlook for many patients with blood cancers. Physicians and scientists at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) are at the forefront of bringing some of these treatments into the clinic. The latest example is Tecartus™ (brexucatagene autoleucel), which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July for mantle cell lymphoma.
A Phase 2 trial run by the Adult Head and Neck Oncology Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) is seeking to reduce the side effects of postoperative therapy for certain head and neck cancer patients, helping them have a better quality of life while maintaining cancer cure rates.
A recent study found that giving early-stage, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients immunotherapy in combination with traditional chemotherapy prior to surgery results in higher rates of elimination of their tumors. The study’s results were published in The Lancet and presented at the 2020 Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology in September.
For many men diagnosed with early-stage, localized prostate cancer, external-beam radiation therapy offers the best chance of a cure. But this form of treatment is not without side effects. Furthermore, the number of scheduled treatments—as many as 44 over nine weeks—can be a major inconvenience that can adversely affect overall quality of life during treatment.
Appendiceal cancers are rare, with an estimated 1,500 people diagnosed per year in the United States. The rarity of these cancers and their diverse manifestations can make accurate diagnosis challenging.
A recent study out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital advises that older cancer patients receive routine assessments of their ability to conduct certain daily living activities to identify those who need supportive intervention. The study, led by Clark DuMontier, MD, geriatrician and research fellow in Brigham and Women’s Division of Aging, found a correlation between patients’ ability to live independently and their odds of being hospitalized or dying.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors have transformed the management of patients with advanced kidney cancer. However, these therapies only work for a subset of patients with advanced disease and can be associated with substantial side effects. As a result, researchers are focused on new therapeutic combinations to boost the effectiveness of current immune therapies in renal cancer, including in patient populations with early-stage disease that is likely to recur.
Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of women’s cancer, with a five-year survival rate of 47.4 percent. The standard of care for first-line treatment is platinum- and taxane-based chemotherapy, which results in high initial response rates.