Cancer Center

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the original members of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), a collective that aims to synthesize the scientific discoveries of seven medical institutions affiliated with Harvard.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute happens to be the largest National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the country, which is saying something.

Receiving over five-hundred million dollars every year in research grants, the Dana-Farber Institute and Harvard Cancer Center is generously sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, also known as the NIH. These grants are utilized to provide scientists with resources so that they can develop new ground-breaking therapies and treatments that continuously better the lives of cancer patients.

The Dana-Farber institute also works closely with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The Brigham and Women’s Hospital, also associated with Harvard, was ranked number four on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of the top ten cancer centers in 2015. Dr. Sidney Farber changed the face of cancer care with the conception of the Children’s Cancer Center Research Foundation in 1947, the same year that Farber developed a brand new treatment for leukemia. At the time, a leukemia diagnosis came along with a very poor prognosis; the disease had no available treatment options.

Farber made huge strides for cancer treatment, testing the brand new treatment on sixteen young people who had just been diagnosed with leukemia. Dr. Farber helped ten of those children go into remission. The institution began to offer cutting-edge treatment to individuals of all age groups in 1969. It changed its name to the Sidney Farber Center in 1974, and became the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1983 in order to pay respect to the Charles A. Dana Foundation and its support of the fight against cancer. Despite the identity of the institution, which has evolved over the past years, the Dana Farber maintains the same dedication: improving cancer treatment and care. Setting itself apart from thousands of other cancer centers through its cutting-edge patient care and scientific research, Dana-Farber sets the state for future progress in all disciplines of cancer treatment.


At the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, laboratory developments uncovered via cutting-edge research are transformed into developments in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and overall education. What sets Dana-Farber’s science apart from other institutes is the lengths that they are willing to go to with their research collaboration. The institute’s financial resources are split among the DF/HCC, which is comprised of Brigham and Women’s, Dana-Farber, as well as other institutions. In order to improve cancer prevention, research, and clinical trials, these institutions collaborate by sharing resources and advanced technology. Dana-Farber’s research locations contribute invaluable information to research, outreach, and training opportunities for scientists, fellows, and students.

Dana-Farber is a primary teaching collaborator of the Harvard Medical School. Collaborative initiatives are launched based on the study of particular ailments or research interests. Mesothelioma specialists, such as cancer doctor Dr. Pasi A. Janne, are finally making headway on the factors that cause such diseases to grow and eventually spread. Dr. Janne provides the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center with creative laboratory research to help the medical community comprehend how these cancers arise due to mutated epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR).

Dr. Janne thinks that exploring new ways to stifle these receptors could stop these cancerous cells from resisting therapy. Exploring these domains of thought might someday also lead to more effective treatments for lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma.

Cutting-Edge Clinical Trials

Dana-Farber conducts one of the country’s largest cancer clinical trial programs. By testing novel approaches to different treatment and therapy combinations, these studies are evolving the quality of patient care. Clinical trials such as the following are recruiting new patients.

Trametinib and Navitoclax

This trial, which is currently in phase I and II, explores the potential side effects and dosage of navitoclax and trametinib in patients with advanced lung ailments, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Scientists believe that these novel treatments might halt tumor cell development by blocking some of the enzymes that the cells utilize for growth.

Glutaminase Inhibitor CB-839

This phase I trial, carried out in two-parts, is exploring the effectiveness of an experimental drug called CB-839. This drug kills or slows the growth of several strains of cancer cells in preclinical studies. It acts through depriving cancer cells of glutamine, an amino acid that facilitates the growth of many tumor cells, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. The first portion of this clinical trial is aimed to determine the best dosage of CB-839 for patients suffering from advanced tumors. The second segment of this trial is intended to determine the drug’s effectiveness and safety when combined with paclitaxel.

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