Can a Daily Pill Prevent Pancreatic Cancer?

Man holding small fishtank
Sahar Nissim, MD, PhD, used zebra fish to validate the research findings.

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.

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FDA Approves First CAR T Treatment for Mantle Cell Lymphoma

3d render of a CAR T cell interacting with a cancer cellEngineered 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.

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Reducing Treatment Toxicity in Head and Neck Cancer

robot close up

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.

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Immunotherapy Improves TNBC Patient Tumor Elimination Rate

patient with mask on

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.

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An Advanced Approach for Treating Localized Prostate Cancer


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.

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Thoracic and Cardiac Surgeons Perform Innovative Resection

Cross-sectional view of yolk sac tumor (YST) surrounding the aorta.
Cross-sectional view of yolk sac tumor (YST) surrounding the aorta.

In the summer of 2019, Paul Pezzote, 67, learned he had Stage 4 cancer. Pezzote, who has Parkinson’s disease, had undergone treatments in 2010 at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC). However, the cancer had returned and spread.

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Improving Diagnosis and Treatment of Appendiceal Cancers

close up of cells

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.

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Higher Mortality and Hospital Use Linked to Dependency in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Among Cancer Patients

Elderly couple cooking together

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.

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Exploring a New Combination Therapy to Prevent Renal Cell Cancer Recurrence

close-up of cells

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.

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Patients Taking PARP Inhibitor Survive Ovarian Cancer Longer with Fewer Complications

dna strand

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.

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