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Cancer Research Advances of Dana-Farber

Drapkin and Karsta researchers

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was born from an astonishing discovery: medication could drive a fatal disease, childhood leukemia, into remission.

Today, Dana-Farber remains true to our founder Dr. Sidney Farber's vision of a cancer center as dedicated to cancer research as it is to delivering compassionate, patient-centered care. Through strategic investment in research, we support scientific leaders and young investigators, acquire technology at the leading edge of cancer science, and ensure a spirit of collaboration and innovation.

Profile: A personalized medicine cancer research study

Profile, a research project launched by scientists at Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is one of the nation's most comprehensive personalized cancer medicine initiatives. Every patient's cancer contains a specific pattern of DNA mutations and other alterations — called a "tumor profile" — that can potentially be used to select individualized regimens of cancer therapies.

Proteomics: How proteins influence cancer

Cancer is generally understood to be a disease of malfunctioning genes. But genes are, in a sense, only middlemen. Proteins do most of the actual work in cells – and produce much of the cellular havoc associated with cancer. Advances in technology for scanning and measuring thousands of types of cell proteins have ushered in the field of proteomics. Dana-Farber’s proteomics program seeks to give scientists a clearer idea of how cancer can be arrested, prevented, or reversed.

Chemical biology: Small molecules can alter disease

One of the biggest hurdles in the development of new cancer therapies is that many cancer-related proteins within cells are not accessible to the molecules within many drugs. At Dana-Farber, scientists are applying chemical techniques to solve these kinds of biological problems.

Immunotherapy: Marshalling the body’s own defense

Comprising legions of disease fighting cells and proteins, the human immune system is a natural foe of cancer. At Dana-Farber, scientists are using their knowledge of immune system functioning to develop vaccines that spur this system to prevent or attack cancer. Our experts are exploring why the immune system’s normal response to cancer often slackens, and how it can be re-energized. They are also learning to fine-tune the system’s attack on cancer so it is neither too aggressive nor too timid.

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