Adult Histiocyte Disorders Center

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At the Adult Histiocyte Disorders Center at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, our mission is to combine world-class patient care with leading-edge research – to provide highly effective, personalized treatment options for patients with adult histiocytosis and histiocyte disorders – a group of rare diseases resulting from the over-production of white blood cells (histiocytes), which can lead to tumors and organ damage.

As part of Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center's Hematologic Oncology Treatment Center, the Adult Histiocyte Disorders Center is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of leading medical oncologists, pathologists, surgical oncologists, endocrinologists, cardiologists, nephrologists, neurologists, pulmonologists, orthopedists, dermatologists, and other specialists dedicated to producing the best possible results for patients with histiocyte disorders.

At the Adult Histiocyte Disorders Center at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, our goal is to optimize care by applying our scientific and clinical knowledge to each individual patient. We continually build on our knowledge base – analyzing outcomes we've achieved with existing treatments, and also developing new treatments.

Ours is the first dedicated adult histiocytosis center in the United States. And as one of the world's largest and most experienced centers for the treatment of adult histiocytosis and histiocyte disorders, we offer the very latest therapies and clinical trials that may not be available elsewhere. We are leaders in clinical trials and scientific collaborations aimed at developing new treatments for these very rare conditions.

Our Center utilizes all the institutional resources and expertise of Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center's Hematologic Oncology Treatment Center, including:

  • Experienced nurses to administer our advanced treatments
  • Experts from nutrition, integrative therapies, social work, and other supportive services
  • The advanced research resources of the Hematologic Oncology Treatment Center, such as gene profiling, xenograft models, and other tools

Dedicated to advancing the way histiocyte disorders are diagnosed and treated, our Center's renowned clinical team provides timely, compassionate, and comprehensive multidisciplinary care across the full spectrum of cancer services.

Dr. Eric Jacobsen on care for adult histiocyte disorders

Dr. Jacobsen describes how this dedicated center treats and supports patients with adult histiocytosis and histiocyte disorders.

Unparalleled Experience and Expertise

Because histiocyte disorders often affect multiple organ systems, it is important to have expertise from many specialties. Our multidisciplinary clinical team calls on its deep expertise – to diagnose and aggressively treat even the rarest histiocyte disorders.

Ours is one of the few programs in the world that focuses on adult histiocyte disorders, which are even rarer than pediatric histiocyte diseases. Since pediatric histiocyte cases are more common than adult cases, pediatric-focused national and international hematologic/oncology centers typically refer their adult cases to us.

Our Center has the widest experience in adult histiocyte disorders in the world. We receive referrals from all over the United States and overseas. With such a large volume of referrals and case experience, we have developed a unique level of treatment expertise.

Multidisciplinary Approach

Histiocyte disorders frequently involve skin, lungs, and other parts of the body. The Center's clinical depth includes sub-specialists with expertise in these aspects of the disease – particularly in dermatology, pulmonology, radiation oncology, and endocrinology – creating a "one-stop shop" of sub-specialists that patients cannot find elsewhere.

For example, if a histiocytosis patient needs to be seen by a dermatologist, experts from our Cutaneous Cancer Treatment Center will jointly meet with the patient and the patient's medical oncologist. If radiation oncology is needed, a radiation oncologist will also join the patient meeting. By meeting all together in a single visit,

  • The patient saves time and is spared considerable anxiety.
  • The clinicians can collaborate on the case in real time – for better understanding of the patient's disease, and better coordination of care.

Patients and families can stay connected by joining Dana-Farber's online Adult Histiocytosis Community on CancerConnect. There, you can safely express your thoughts, pose questions, voice concerns, and read what others have to say.


Clinical Innovations

Our relentless search for clinical innovation drives our internal studies, including:

  • Center Director Eric Jacobsen, MD, implemented one of the few investigator-initiated therapeutic trials on histiocyte disorders – a study of the drug lenalidomide as a possible treatment for these disorders.
  • One of the key scientific findings in histiocyte disorders – the discovery of the BRAF V600E mutation – was made at Dana-Farber in the research lab of our Chief Scientific Officer, Barrett Rollins, MD, PhD.

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