Immunotherapy is the treatment of disease by inducing,
enhancing or suppressing an immune response. Cancer immunotherapy attempts to
stimulate the immune system to reject or destroy tumors. The efficacy of immunotherapy
is enhanced by nearly 30 percent when combined with conventional cancer
There are a wide variety of immunotherapies that work in different ways to either boost the body’s immune system or train the immune system to attack cancer cells, including:
Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is a leader in innovative therapies, such as immunotherapy, for a wide range of conditions. Our physicians work continuously to translate laboratory findings into clinical therapies, including examining biological therapies that help the body’s immune system fight cancer and lessen the harmful side effects
of some treatments. We are conducting clinical trials of monoclonal antibody therapy for recurrent or refractory high-risk neuroblastoma and for other advanced or refractory solid
tumors. We also have a clinical trial for
relapsed B-cell ALL testing the safety of giving patients special
cells made from their own blood called "modified T-cells." The goal
is to find a safe dose of modified T-cells for patients whose leukemia has
Dana-Farber/Boston Children's is also at the forefront of pediatric cancer vaccine therapy. We participate in numerous clinical trials and have access to a vigorous
program of scientific discovery, preclinical vaccine development and clinical
One of our vaccine therapy clinical trials targets neuroblastoma, a cancerous tumor that forms in nerve tissue of infants and young children. Through a collaboration with Penn State Hershey Medical Center, our physician/scientists have discovered in preclinical models that vaccine therapy can be successful in treating neuroblastoma and sarcoma. A phase I trial is currently underway to determine the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in treating children with neuroblastoma and sarcomas.
Dr. Stuart Orkin, Chair of Pediatric Oncology, describes the unparalleled resources available at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's.