Research Means Hope
While scientific discovery is an integral piece of Dana-Farber's mission, the main focus of our research program is to move those discoveries quickly into the clinics where they can benefit our patients. As our founder, Dr. Sidney Farber, said over 50 years ago, "Our research program begins and ends with the patient."
Here are just some of the ways that Dana-Farber's world-renowned, Harvard Medical School-affiliated research program benefits our patients:
We move discoveries quickly from "Bench to Bedside"
At Dana-Farber, there has always been a strong emphasis on moving discoveries from the laboratory quickly into the clinic for the benefit of our patients.
- In 2003, Dana-Farber opened the Clinical Research Center (CRC), a state-of-the-art facility used for safely and comfortably treating patients with the latest protocols developed in Dana-Farber labs. Learn more
- The Cancer Vaccine Center was created in 2005 to join laboratory research with studies of the latest vaccine-related treatments in patients. Learn more
- Dana-Farber offers more than 400 adult and pediatric therapeutic clinical trials, in which many of the future's treatment methods are being tested today. Through our partnership in Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, which includes Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, our patients have access to over 1,800 clinical trials. Learn more
We train and staff some of the best researcher/physicians in the world
- As a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber is able to attract and retain some of the brightest scientific minds in the world.
- We are the top independent hospital recipient of grant funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dana-Farber has received seven prestigious Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants from the NCI for breast, ovarian, multiple myeloma, prostate, skin, renal, and lung cancer research.
We have a long history of breakthrough discoveries
Dr. Sidney Farber leads a team of researchers who are the first in the world to attain temporary remissions of acute lymphocytic leukemia, the most common cancer in children.
Dr. Farber and his colleagues achieve the first remissions of Wilms' tumor of the kidney, a common form of childhood cancer, and boost cure rates from 40 percent to 85 percent.
Researchers at the Sidney Farber Cancer Center (now Dana-Farber) develop a new treatment for acute myelogenous leukemia that produces the first complete remissions of the disease in up to half of all patients.
Institute investigators develop combination chemotherapy for soft-tissue sarcomas, resulting in a 50-percent response rate.
Dana-Farber researchers develop and apply the CA-125 blood test for ovarian cancer. They also are among the first to suspect a relationship between the retrovirus that causes human T cell leukemia (HTLV-1) and that which causes AIDS (HIV-1).
Dana-Farber investigators help introduce the use of naturally occurring growth hormones following high-dose chemotherapy, making bone marrow transplantation safer and more effective.
Institute researchers dramatically advance the understanding of how HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, replicates and infects healthy cells. Science magazine heralds this discovery as its "Breakthrough of the Year."
A drug called Gleevec, the early work for which was done at Dana-Farber, achieves striking success in many patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Researchers later find it can shrink and eliminate tumors in some patients with a rare form of gastrointestinal cancer.
Working with colleagues at other hospitals, Dana-Farber scientists begin the first human studies of Endostatin, one of a new generation of compounds that arrest or shrink tumors by shutting off their blood supply.
Dana-Farber researchers find that Gleevec, a targeted therapy that achieved striking success against chronic myelogenous leukemia, can shrink and even eliminate tumors in some patients with a rare and otherwise incurable digestive-tract cancer called gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
Scientists at Dana-Farber and the Whitehead Institute find a gene "signature" in several types of tumors that suggests they are likely to spread to other parts of the body, potentially leading to tests for determining whether tumors have the potential to metastasize.
Dana-Farber scientists report that the drug gefitinib produces dramatic benefits in non-small cell lung cancer patients who carry an abnormal version of a key protein, a potentially life-saving discovery for tens of thousands of patients around the world every year.