There are still so few effective treatments for sarcoma, and many patients have to undergo life changing surgery as their best treatment option. This means there is a pressing need to discover new targets for drugs that could help people with sarcoma.
How will this project tackle this challenge?
Over 1,000 tissue samples from sarcoma patients have been already studied as part of a UK wide initiative known as the 100,000 Genomes project. Professor Beggs and his team now hope to hope to build on this work to gather much more detailed data from the sarcoma samples, by analysing the faults in single cells within tumours.
Taking a focus on soft tissue sarcoma, the team will also analyse the proteins being produced in cells and the level of gene activity, to compare between people with sarcoma and people who don’t have sarcoma. The team plan to combine this information to provide a high precision map of what is going wrong, helping them to unlock the secrets of sarcoma.
From this data Professor Beggs hopes to answer a very pressing question – why don’t sarcomas respond well to cancer immunotherapies?
What this means for people affected by sarcoma
Digging into the genetic reasons why some sarcomas don’t respond could mean that future immunotherapies could be developed that are much more effective for people with sarcoma.
A high precision map can 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.