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Gene therapy trial gives Coopersville toddler second chance at life

December 07, 2016
A West Michigan toddler born with “bubble boy” disease is active and healthy, thanks to newborn screening and gene therapy, Fox 17 TV in Grand Rapids reports.

Children with Down syndrome and acute lymphoblastic leukemia fare as well as other children treated on Dana-Farber ALL Consortium protocols

December 05, 2016
Despite an elevated risk of toxicity from chemotherapy, children with Down syndrome and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) did not experience higher rates of relapse or treatment-related mortality compared with other children treated on Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ALL Consortium Protocols, according to research presented at the 58th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Deaths in cancer trials remain mystery for promising therapy

December 04, 2016
The experimental CAR T-cell immunotherapy has shown dramatic results, including long-term cures, for cancer patients with severe disease, but has also left puzzling questions about deaths that have occurred during some tests, Bloomberg reports in a story published by The Washington Post.

Pioneering doctor reflects on gene therapy’s trajectory

November 23, 2016
Alessandra Biffi, MD, director of gene therapy at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s answers New Scientist’s questions about the resurgence of gene therapy after early setbacks.

Sickle cell disease: An unpredictable adversary

November 19, 2016
One teenage girl describes the intense pain of a sickle cell disease crisis as the feeling that heavy books are piled on her. Her sister likens it to being stabbed by needles. They don’t know when a debilitating crisis will strike, only that it will and that the sudden bouts of pain can last days, The Boston Globe reports.

Applying local knowledge

November 17, 2016
Proximity is just one factor driving the high number of collaborations between top performing institutions in the same city, Nature reports. For example, Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Dr. Andrew Hong and researchers from nearby institutions have teamed up to grow a cell line from a rare cancer sample and learn about its potential weaknesses.

Intimate photos show young Guatemalan boy’s journey through cancer

November 11, 2016
The Washington Post published a photo essay on a young Guatemalan boy’s experience with cancer as part of the documentary film project How I Live, which is advised by Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Global Health Initiative.

Boston Children’s hires a chief scientific officer

November 04, 2016
Boston Children’s Hospital named David A. Williams, MD, president of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, to be its first chief scientific officer, Boston Business Journal reports. Williams also serves as Boston Children’s chief of hematology and oncology and director of clinical and translational research.

The role of early phase clinical trials in end-of-life care for children

November 01, 2016
Enrolling children in early phase clinical trials in the last 6 months of life does not appear to substantially alter end-of-life care, increase use of invasive interventions, or increase hospital use, according to a new study, Oncology Times reports.

Scientists tackle DIPG, a lethal childhood brain cancer

October 28, 2016
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is perhaps the most deadly pediatric cancer, with most young patients succumbing to it within a year of diagnosis. Now, Scientific American reports, the recent ability to biopsy the tumors at diagnosis, coupled with bereaved parents’ donation of autopsy tissue, enables researchers to parse DIPG’s molecular underpinnings, with the hope of developing effective treatment.
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