University of Birmingham
Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Prof. Andrew Beggs hopes to use the DNA of cancer cells to answer a very pressing question – why don’t sarcomas respond well to immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer. It has proven very effective in many other cancers, but patients with sarcoma don’t respond so well.

So, to help understand why sarcoma seems resistant to immunotherapy, Sarcoma UK has committed to investing £250,000 to fund a major new project led by  Prof. Beggs at the University of Birmingham,  as part of our Genomics Research Programme.

The team will focus on soft tissue sarcoma samples collected as part of the 100,000 Genomes Project. They’ll be taking a closer look at the level of gene activity and the proteins being produced in these samples, as well as gathering much more detailed data by studying the DNA changes in single cells.

This information will be used to develop a high precision map to help unlock what’s going wrong with individual genes to hamper the effectiveness of immunotherapy. In this way, the team hopes to shed some much needed light on why some cancer treatments aren’t effective for sarcoma, so that the right treatments can be developed in the future.

‘This exciting new project brings our total investment in genomic research to over half a million pounds. In these difficult times we’re committed to putting sarcoma patients first, and by continuing to invest in cutting edge science we are working towards developing more effective treatments' says Dr Sorrel Bickley, Director of Research and Policy.

Read about A genomic approach to unlocking the secrets of sarcoma’.

This work will also benefit from funding for the £2.5 million Cancer Research UK Accelerator Award Programme.

Your fundraising and donations funded this project and, right now, they’re needed now more than ever.  Help us to keep investing in sarcoma research.