New Immunotherapy Breakthrough

Dec 8, 2014

A therapy that liberates the immune system to attack cancer cells drove Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) into complete or partial remission in fully 87 percent of patients with resistant forms of the disease who participated in an early-phase clinical trial, Harvard Medical School investigators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and partnering institutions report in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and also presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

Dr. Flockhart putting on a sock
Lauren Weghorst

During treatment and rehab, Dr. David Flockhart remained curious about his own advanced form of glioblastoma. Hear him discuss his new perspective as a patient.

When choosing a cancer surgeon, patients are more likely to prefer surgeons with specialized training and lots of experience far more than those who practice in a convenient location or were recommended by a friend, according to results of a new survey reported in the November issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

A Personal Story About Cancer

Nov 13, 2014

This is a reflection from Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock on how cancer has touched his family.

It was a cloudy Monday morning in normally sunny Southern California. People were shuffling into the University of California San Diego Health Center in La Jolla.

Some pushed walkers. Some wore masks.

In the waiting room, a man sat next to a woman in a wheelchair. She looked really sick. He was fighting back tears and losing the fight. She patted him softly on his shoulder.

Cancer is still the second most common cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease. But for many types of cancer, the mortality rate is declining. Scientists say they are on the verge of developing a greater number of treatments for cancer that are more efficient and less toxic, by specifically targeting tumors using genetic analysis.

The evidence has been piling up that properly done CT scans can help doctors find tiny lung tumors in longtime smokers while the cancer can still be treated effectively.

Now Medicare is proposing to pay for annual scans for beneficiaries at a high risk for lung cancer. To qualify, patients would have to first meet with a doctor to talk through the pros and cons of scans, which involve a low-dose of radiation.

Patients would have to be:

  • Between the ages 55 and 74;

Deaths from cancer are on the decline, but cancer is still the second most common cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease.

Researchers say they are gaining a new understanding of how cancer cells operate, which is enabling them to develop lifesaving therapies that are helping to decrease mortality from the disease.

Shutting Down Energy To Brain Cancer

Nov 4, 2014
stock photo

A multicenter team of researchers has identified an enzyme key to the survival and spread of glioblastoma cancer cells that is not present in healthy brain cells, making the enzyme a promising therapeutic target.

Early Palliative Care Can Cut Hospital Readmissions For Cancer Patients

Oct 24, 2014
Daniel Dennis/

Doctors at Duke University Hospital have developed a new collaborative model in cancer care that reduced the rates at which patients were sent to intensive care or readmitted to the hospital after discharge.

The Duke researchers shared their findings today at the Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Every 15 minutes, for 10 hours a day, another patient walks into the radiation room at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. Each picks up a plastic mesh mask, walks to a machine, and lies down on the table underneath.

Nurses fit the mask over the patient's face and shoulders. And then they snap it down.

"It was awful," says Barbara Blades, who was diagnosed with cancer in her lymph nodes and tongue nine years ago. "It was awful to have your head bolted to a table. Not being able to move. Not being able to move your head."