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Research into basic workings of immune system points to way of improving therapies for cancer and chronic infection

October 27, 2016
In a paper posted the journal Science, researchers report that, in mice with chronic viral infection, exhausted T cells are controlled by a fundamentally different set of molecular circuits than T cells effectively battling infections or cancer – a finding that suggests a way to increase the staying power of CAR T cells, a promising form of immunotherapy for cancer.

Fighting genetic disease with help of HIV virus

October 23, 2016
A gene therapy trial in Italy led by Alessandra Biffi, MD, who now directs the Gene Therapy Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, has had promising results treating a devastating, lethal inherited neurological disorder, CBS Sunday Morning reports.

America is great at beating childhood cancer and it’s about to get better

September 25, 2016
A Plus, a “positive journalism” site co-founded by Ashton Kutcher, highlights new research into the effects of poverty on childhood cancer outcomes, as well as Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s program to help patient families meet their material needs.

Childhood cancer deaths: Brain cancer overtakes leukemia as top cause

September 17, 2016
Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, but brain cancer, not leukemia, now is the top cause of death from pediatric malignancies, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, Live Science reports. As overall mortality from childhood cancer continues to decline, progress has been substantially greater in leukemia than brain tumors.

What the cancer moonshot might mean for kids

September 16, 2016
The cancer moonshot’s dual focus for pediatrics should be improving outcomes in childhood cancers with low cure rates and alleviating the late effects of treatment, Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s President David A. Williams, MD, and other experts tell US News.

Patriots’ Nate Solder seeks normalcy after hellish year

September 15, 2016
New England Patriots’ player Nate Solder reflects on a difficult year that included his young son’s diagnosis of Wilms tumor, a cancer of the kidney, the Boston Herald reports.

Discovery offers prospect of shorter treatment and cure for chronic myelogenous leukemia

September 14, 2016
Although targeted drugs like Gleevec have revolutionized the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), patients generally must take them for the rest of their lives and may cease benefiting from them over time. In new research that could suggest a road to cure, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital have found that CML stem cells die in response to inhibition of a protein called Ezh2.

Finally, hope for a young patient with CGD

September 14, 2016
At 16, Brenden was so sick that he started planning his funeral, Harvard Gazette reports. Today, Brenden, who has a rare immune disorder called chronic granulomatous disease, is 23 and preparing, with cautious optimism, to return to college. What changed? He participated in a gene therapy clinical trial to correct a disease that severely weakens the infection-fighting abilities.

BCL11A-based gene therapy for sickle cell disease passes key preclinical test

September 06, 2016
A precision-engineered gene therapy virus, inserted into blood stem cells that are then transplanted, markedly reduced sickle-induced red-cell damage in mice with sickle cell disease, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The work sets the stage for bringing a decades-old discovery about sickle cell disease to the bedside. A clinical gene therapy trial, using a virus rendered harmless in the laboratory, is expected to launch in 2017.

Outpatient bloodstream infections costly for pediatric stem cell transplant and cancer patients

August 29, 2016
Pediatric stem cell transplant and cancer patients often are discharged from the hospital with an external central venous line for medications that parents or other caregivers must clean and flush daily to avoid potentially life-threatening infections. If an outpatient develops a bloodstream infection associated with the central line, the median charges to treat it total $37,000 for a hospital stay of six days for young patients whose disease treatments have weakened their immune systems.
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