Sarcoma UK is part of a pioneering research collaboration to find more effective ways of treating childhood sarcoma cancers.
The £100,000 project, with the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, aims to improve outcomes for children and young people with sarcoma. The research will focus on a type of cancer treatment called immunotherapy. Sarcoma is the third most common cancer in children but sadly has lower survival rates than many other childhood cancers.
Unlike other cancer treatments, immunotherapy harnesses the power of the patient’s own immune system to fight and kill cancer cells. The immune system is precise, so it targets only the cancer cells, leaving the patient’s healthy cells unharmed. This means that side-effects may be less pronounced than for other types of cancer treatment.
Immunotherapy is already used for some cancers, but sarcomas have features which can make it less effective. The new research – taking place at the University of Birmingham and led by Dr Carmela de Santo – will aim to overcome this by switching on key cells in the immune system and studying how childhood sarcoma cells and immune cells work together.
Dr Sorrel Bickley, Director of Research, Policy and Support at Sarcoma UK, said:
“We are delighted to be funding this important research in collaboration with the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust. We hope that this project will improve our understanding of immunotherapy in childhood sarcomas and bring us a step closer to the new treatments that are so desperately needed.”
Dr Jen Kelly, CEO of the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, said:
“Childhood sarcomas have very variable outcomes in children, but by charities working together, we aim to make more significant advances. It is a pleasure to work together with Sarcoma UK and I hope that it will lead to more collaboration between our charities in the future.”
Read more about the research here.