Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Description:

Mission and Values

The mission of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is to provide expert, compassionate care to children and adults with cancer while advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of cancer and related diseases. As an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a Comprehensive Cancer Center designated by the National Cancer Institute, the Institute also provides training for new generations of physicians and scientists, designs programs that promote public health particularly among high-risk and underserved populations, and disseminates innovative patient therapies and scientific discoveries to our target community across the United States and throughout the world.

Technician and a patient-Mission

Vision

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's ultimate goal is the eradication of cancer, AIDS, and related diseases and the fear that they engender.

Core Values

Impact

Above all else, we make a difference by relieving the burden of disease now and for the future through our research, clinical care, education, outreach and advocacy.

Excellence

We pursue excellence relentlessly and with integrity in all that we do, adhering always to the highest standards of conduct.

Compassion and respect

For those in our care and for one another.

Discovery

We foster the spirit of inquiry, promoting collaboration and innovation across traditional boundaries while celebrating individual creativity.

History of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Sidney Farber, MD 

In 1947, Sidney Farber, MD, founded the Children's Cancer Research Foundation, dedicated to providing compassionate, state-of-the-art treatment to children with cancer while developing the cancer preventatives, treatments, and cures of the future.

The foundation officially expanded its programs to include patients of all ages in 1969, and in 1974 became known as the Sidney Farber Cancer Center in honor of its founder. The long-term support of the Charles A. Dana Foundation was acknowledged by incorporating the Institute under its present name in 1983.

Today, the Institute employs nearly 4,000 people supporting more than 300,000 patient visits a year, is involved in some 700 clinical trials, and is internationally renowned for its blending of research and clinical excellence. The Institute's expertise in these two aspects of the fight against cancer uniquely positions it to develop and test the next generation of cancer therapies in both the laboratory and the clinic.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, a federally designated Center for AIDS Research, and a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, a federally designated comprehensive cancer center.

Providing advanced training in cancer treatment and research for an international faculty, the Institute conducts community-based programs in cancer prevention, detection, and control throughout New England, and maintains joint programs with other Boston institutions affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the Partners Health Care System, including Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital Boston, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dana-Farber is supported by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the generous support of numerous foundations and individuals who contribute to the Institute's individual research and clinic programs or to the Jimmy Fund , the principal charity of the Institute, named for one of its child patients.

History of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Sidney Farber, MD 

In 1947, Sidney Farber, MD, founded the Children's Cancer Research Foundation, dedicated to providing compassionate, state-of-the-art treatment to children with cancer while developing the cancer preventatives, treatments, and cures of the future.

The foundation officially expanded its programs to include patients of all ages in 1969, and in 1974 became known as the Sidney Farber Cancer Center in honor of its founder. The long-term support of the Charles A. Dana Foundation was acknowledged by incorporating the Institute under its present name in 1983.

Today, the Institute employs nearly 4,000 people supporting more than 300,000 patient visits a year, is involved in some 700 clinical trials, and is internationally renowned for its blending of research and clinical excellence. The Institute's expertise in these two aspects of the fight against cancer uniquely positions it to develop and test the next generation of cancer therapies in both the laboratory and the clinic.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, a federally designated Center for AIDS Research, and a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, a federally designated comprehensive cancer center.

Providing advanced training in cancer treatment and research for an international faculty, the Institute conducts community-based programs in cancer prevention, detection, and control throughout New England, and maintains joint programs with other Boston institutions affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the Partners Health Care System, including Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital Boston, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dana-Farber is supported by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the generous support of numerous foundations and individuals who contribute to the Institute's individual research and clinic programs or to the Jimmy Fund , the principal charity of the Institute, named for one of its child patients.


Advances in Patient Care and Research at Dana-Farber

    1940s and 1950s

In 1947, Sidney Farber, MD, establishes the Children's Cancer Research Foundation, now Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, introducing the first research program in chemotherapy for children with cancer.

Dr. Farber and his team of clinicians and laboratory scientists are the first to use chemotherapy to attain temporary remissions of acute lymphocytic leukemia in children. Research that transfers new scientific knowledge "from the lab bench to the patient bedside" forms the foundation for future progress against cancer at the Institute.

Dr. Farber and colleagues achieve the first remissions in Wilms' tumor of the kidney, a common form of childhood cancer. By employing the antibiotic actinomycin D in addition to surgery and radiation therapy, they boost cure rates from 40 to 85 percent.


1960s

Researchers develop means to collect, preserve and transfuse blood-clotting factors called platelets to control bleeding, a critical step to combating this common side effect of cancer chemotherapy.


1970s

Studies involving pediatric and adult patients continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of using multiple drugs to cure many forms of cancer. Foundation leaders help to pioneer this strategy, known as combination chemotherapy.

Through more effective chemotherapy, researchers raise cure rates for some forms of adult non-Hodgkin's lymphoma to 60 percent.

Researchers increase the cure rate for a bone cancer known as osteogenic sarcoma from less than 15 percent to more than 60 percent. Use of chemotherapy in addition to surgery and/or radiation therapy reduces many tumors to operable size and may even render surgery unnecessary.

Researchers develop a combination therapy program for soft-tissue sarcomas, resulting in a 50 percent response rate.

By employing drugs in novel combinations, investigators improve survival for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, breast cancer and advanced testicular cancer. They also report the first cures for acute myelogenous leukemia and large cell lymphoma.

Researchers clone the gene RAS and demonstrate that, when mutated, this gene – the first known human oncogene – helps spur development of many common human tumors.

1980s

Having developed monoclonal antibodies to purge cancer cells from bone marrow, physician-researchers pioneer autologous ("self") bone marrow transplantation as a treatment for childhood leukemia. This procedure enables patients to tolerate extremely high doses of chemotherapy and radiation formulated to eradicate their disease.

Institute researchers employ autologous bone marrow transplantation to treat other cancers of the blood and immune system, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Researchers help identify the gene RB-1, essential for preventing retinoblastoma, a rare inheritable cancer of the eye, and shed light on how it works. The growth-controlling role of RB-1 and other "tumor-suppressor" genes in more common forms of cancer becomes the focus of scrutiny worldwide.

Researchers discover the first evidence that growth-related signaling pathways are composed of multiple oncogene products.

Dana-Farber's Breast Evaluation Center is established. Through this innovative clinic – a model for breast centers nationwide – oncologists, radiation therapists, surgeons, pathologists and other specialists work to advance breast cancer detection and treatment.

Researchers introduce the CA-125 blood test for monitoring the progress of ovarian cancer patients undergoing treatment. Later researchers devise a similar test for breast cancer, DF-3.

Dana-Farber immunologists identify the human T cell receptor, a complex of molecules that enable immune cells to recognize foreign invaders.

Immunologists develop means to detect protein markers called antigens on immune cells, making it possible to identify different immune-cell cancers and devise specific treatments for them.

Researchers show the immune system is turned "on" by helper T cells and "off" by suppressor T cells. The AIDS virus infects and destroys helper T cells, eventually rendering its host defenseless against disease.

Dana-Farber researchers identify a growth-controlling hormone called platelet-derived growth factor, or PDGF, believed to play a role in wound healing, and they implicate PDGF in a complex cascade of genetic interactions that lead to cancer.

Half of patients with head and neck cancers with a poor prognosis prove responsive to an aggressive program of chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery developed by Institute researchers and their collaborators.

As of the late 1980s, two of every three children who enter the Jimmy Fund Clinic walk out cured, and more than half of all people with cancer are cured.

Dana-Farber researchers are among the first to suspect a relationship between the retrovirus that causes human T cell leukemia (HTLV–1) and the one that causes AIDS (HIV–1).

The multidisciplinary Brain Tumor Clinic is established in 1989 to accelerate progress against brain cancers in children and adults.

Researchers at Dana-Farber and their collaborators discover a cell-surface molecule that serves as the point of entry for viruses responsible for the common cold.

Institute scientists help pioneer development of a new generation of anti-cancer drugs, called immunotoxins, which deliver a potent poison to cancer cells via monoclonal antibodies, leaving normal cells unscathed.

Institute researchers help introduce the use of naturally occurring growth factors to spur recovery of bone marrow following high-dose chemotherapy. To make bone marrow transplantation safer and more effective, they substitute for bone marrow a potent combination of young bone marrow cells (stem cells) and growth factors that spur their maturation.

1990s

Pointing to a flaw in the gene p53, researchers demonstrate that a susceptibility to developing cancer can be passed from one generation to the next. The gene is discovered in families afflicted by the rare Li-Fraumeni syndrome, in which family members are at very high risk for tumors of the adrenal gland, breast, brain and soft tissues.

Dana-Farber and Sandoz Pharmaceutical Corporation (now known as Novartis) enter into a novel long-term collaboration to develop a new generation of potent anti-tumor agents based on scientists' understanding of the molecular missteps that lead to cancer.

The Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic is created in 1992 to advance the early detection and prevention of breast cancer in women at high risk for the disease.

In 1993, the Women's Cancers Program is launched at Dana-Farber. This initiative aims to reduce the incidence of cancers of the breast, lung and gynecological and reproductive systems by bridging the gap between petri dish and patient.

Dana-Farber establishes the High Risk Research Clinic, one of the nation's first genetic testing programs for members of families with an inherited susceptibility to cancer. The program aims to identify individuals at risk and provide genetic and psychological counseling.

Scientists discover a group of genes that raise susceptibility to a common inherited form of colon cancer and several other malignancies. The finding reveals an entirely new mechanism for cancer's development. It also raises hopes for saving thousands of lives by screening individuals at high risk for the disease.

Scientists at Dana-Farber find a relationship between a small, repeating section of DNA and the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. The finding may lead to diagnostic tests capable of determining which patients can benefit from surgery or other treatment options, and which are best served by "watchful waiting."

Dana-Farber opens the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, making complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and meditation available to patients while conducting formal research into such therapies' effectiveness.

Researchers at Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women's Hospital report that a diabetes drug can cause tumor cells in one variety of liposarcoma – a fat cell cancer – to grow more slowly. It is the first time scientists have succeeded in causing solid tumor cells to mature, or "differentiate, " to behave more like normal cells.

Building on insights into the functioning of the human immune system, Institute researchers devise a way to neutralize immune system cells responsible for graft-versus-host-disease, a potentially dangerous side effect of organ and tissue transplants. The discovery points toward the creation of a universal donor pool for organ and tissue transplantation and may one-day free transplant recipients from the need to take powerful anti-rejection drugs.

2000s

Dana-Farber researchers and colleagues at affiliated hospitals announce the results of the first human study of Endostatin™ Protein, a drug that seeks to reduce tumors by cutting off their blood supply. The investigators report that the drug is safe even in high doses and that in some cases it halted the progress of advanced cancers.

Investigators studying a rare disease called Fanconi anemia discover that genes linked to the disorder are involved in switching on BRCA1, a gene that, when defective, is the most common source of inherited breast cancer.

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 suggest 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.

2005 

Aiming to overcome some of the longstanding barriers to the creation of new Cancer therapies, Dana-Farber opens the Center for Applied Cancer Science. By working closely with scientists in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, the center hopes to speed the process by which research advances are converted into clinic-ready treatments.

Picking up where the map of the human genome leaves off, a group of Dana-Farber scientists opens the Center for Cancer Systems Biology, which studies how genes act together in controlling the lives of cells. By tracking such activity networks, researchers hope to understand how genes work in concert, and how they are disrupted in cancer cells.

2006 

The Institute inaugurates the Patient Navigators program to help patients from underserved populations receive care and support at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center.

Dana-Farber researchers identify a molecular mechanism in the liver that explains how eating foods rich in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids causes elevated blood levels of so-called "bad" cholesterol and triglicerides, increasing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. The discovery may be a first step toward drugs capable of "turning down" the mechanism and lowing the chances of heart disease.

Research in the laboratory and in animal models by investigators at Dana-Farber and Novartis Pharma AG identifies a compound that is 20 times more potent than the much-heralded drug Gleevec against chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). If effective in human patients, the compound, called AMN107, may produce longer remissions than Gleevec and be active in patients who have relapsed after taking Gleevec.

2007 

Dana-Farber scientists discover that p53, one of the best-known tumor-suppressing proteins in human cells, also prompts skin to tan in response to exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. Because tanned skin is less susceptible to melanoma, creams or lotions that cause p53 or other proteins to initiate the tanning process might help protect at-risk people from the disease.

An international team led by researchers at Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard produces a comprehensive map of the "molecular landscape" of lung cancer, identifying 50 sites on the chromosomes of lung cancer patients that are genetically different from those in healthy individuals. About two thirds of these sites harbor genes that hadn't previously been suspected as playing a role in the disease.

2008 

Dana-Farber scientists achieve a medical first: using a "targeted" drug to drive a patient's metastatic melanoma into remission. When lab tests showed the patient's tumor cells harbored a certain mutated gene, doctors treated her with a drug that blocks the gene's action. The result: a dramatic reduction in tumor size and activity.

2009 

Dana-Farber researchers engineer lab-grown mouse and human cells to produce brown fat, a natural energy-burning type of fat that counteracts obesity. Use of the technique in people could provide a new approach to treating obesity and diabetes.

A scientific team led by Dana-Farber researchers identifies a group of normal human antibodies that neutralize the vast majority of flu viruses known to cause disease in people. Copying these natural proteins to produce vast numbers of identical, "monoclonal" antibodies could give doctors and public health officials a powerful new weapon against virus transmission and flu outbreaks.

2010 

Results of a Dana-Farber-led clinical trial lead to federal approval of Provenge, the first therapeutic cancer vaccine.

Tags and Keywords: cancer, farber, institute, researchers, research, patients, center, scientists, disease, programs

Website: www.dana-farber.org

Contact Email: Dana-FarberContactUs@dfci.harvard.edu

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Samir said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Like many of us, I was laid flat when I received news of rp’s dnagiosis and rode the roller coaster of the good days and bad until last week. Thoughts of what rp meant to me as a teacher and more so, what he meant to me as a friend, rose and fell, scattered out and were drawn close over those months. In the end, it boiled down to a single line I wrote to Peg, “I think I don’t like the world as much anymore.”I still feel that, because there’s a hole in the world and it’s a dark one and for now, I don’t know what to fill it with. But in the days since last Saturday, remembering rp and the years we had together, most of all, I remember his laugh. Of the many inflections and the sound of his voice that have come back to my ears over the last week, the sound of his laugh is the clearest. Much of what rp has meant to his students and friends and his family is reflected in the comments that precede these, but I want also to remember that rp was a terrific comedian and the best straight man in modern literary history.I lived with rp in London for several months in the 70s, in an Islington flat we shared with three Siamese cats. Peg would join us for the last few months, and opened the door to becoming close forever. Up until her arrival, there was some question about how long our friendship would last: I wanted to be a poet, and as much as I think rp wanted that too, he also wanted me to do my share of the dish washing and shopping. I can’t say I enjoyed every minute of our common tenancy, and I’m sure rp would agree with that position.But in spite of the frequent homebound tensions, we still made forays out into London together, checking out history, tasting the literary scene, and meeting poets. One night, returning to our flat on what rp dubbed the “Hampstead Hurricane” (the Hampstead line from any Heath station to ours was a long run with few intervening stations that made it the line on which trains could reach maximum speed). We had the last train, and almost an empty car: rp sat behind me, a “proper Brit” a few seats away burrowed into the Times, all in silence, except for the screeching of steel as the Hurricane approached maximum speed. The reverence inside the car was broken by rp who, in his Russian KGB personification, leaned forward and said, “You know, if you try to go, we will have to kill you.” I was getting used to rp’s prompts, whether for a better line of poetry, a more complete thought, a faster return of his pitch when I caught him on the South Hall lawn, or simply to take an offering whenever it came along, and so I responded, “But I love her, and I must be free to love.” The Times barely rustled, but we had his attention: the top of the paper crinkled a bit, and though we couldn’t see it, we knew his eyes were looking over the top, either toward us or toward the door.What ensued was a fifteen-minute exchange between a KGB agent and a defecting Russian ballet dancer for the consideration of a single soul, a stranger, and, I came to realize, for the sake of me, because this is something that rp taught as well: the delight of improvising with the rest of the world, a poetics for living in itThe story became a touchstone for all the years that followed. My wife, Peg, rp and I have retold it as a primer for many evenings filled with laughter, and even though the world is not so likable right now and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fill the hole, I call it up.I remember rp, and I remember how much he’s given me and the world he lived in over the years, and I remember again and again how much I love him for it.

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