The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s New Cancer-focused Blog, Insight

December 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

As a former internal medicine practitioner, with specialties in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and leukemia, I am heartened to witness an increase in online cancer resources. The Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical Center, has recently launched the blog Insight, focused on accessible cancer-related information that benefits patients and their families.

The blog features the latest treatment options and research discoveries, as well as positive stories and practical tips for living with cancer. Insight notably seeks to go beyond coverage available in traditional media outlets, providing on-the-spot reports from major medial conferences where scientific breakthroughs are announced to the public.

San Antonio, TX - SABCS 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium: General Views of the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium here today, Tuesday December 6, 2011. Over 9,000 physicians, researchers, patient advocates and healthcare professionals from over 90 countries attended the meeting which features the latest research on breast cancer treatment and prevention. Date: Tuesday December 6, 2011 Photo by © SABCS/Todd Buchanan 2011 Technical Questions:; Phone: 612-226-5154.

San Antonio, TX - SABCS 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium posted at

Launched in December 2011, Insight already has a number of articles of interest to cancer practitioners as well as patients. One post features a YouTube video of a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute breast cancer specialist discussing studies of interest at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. This event brings together some 8,000 breast cancer specialists from around the world each year.

The reporting physician noted significant medical discoveries presented at this year’s symposium, including the addition of pertuzumab to the standard HER2-positive breast cancer chemotherapy protocol. Results from a long-awaited CLEOPATRA (Clinical Evaluation of Pertuzumab and Trastuzumab) study demonstrated that this treatment regimen increases patients’ average progression-free survival by approximately six months, significantly improving outcomes.

Another drug treatment of intense interest in the medical community involves the mTOR signaling pathway, which is involved in cell growth and differentiation. New findings suggest that mTOR inhibition is directly linked to reductions in tumor cell growth, metabolism, and division. In a newly released clinical study, ER-positive breast cancer patients who had already had numerous estrogen treatments were found to benefit from continuing anti-estrogen drugs plus the mTOR inhibitor everolimus (Afinitor, Zortress).

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Insight blog has a number of other interesting articles, including “What are the Best Vitamins for Cancer Patients?” and the “Coping with the Holidays when You Have Cancer.” I recommend this resource, accessible at, to cancer patients and their families.

About the Author: Robert Dean Stebbins, MD, treated patients at his private Palo Alto practice for two decades, also holding responsibilities as Founding President and Chairman of the Board with the Private Physicians Group at Stanford, Inc., for a number of years.


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