EORTC STRASS II Trial: An international clinical trial exploring treatment options for retroperitoneal sarcoma patients

Principal Investigators: 

Mr Dirk Strauss

Institution: 

The UK arm of this international clinical trial will be conducted at eight specialist sarcoma units across the UK.

Award Amount: 
£50,000
Duration: 
36 months

Some types of retroperitoneal sarcoma are particularly aggressive, with a high risk of death in the years after treatment, so better options are needed for patients. The EORTC STRASS II trial is a multi-national phase 3 clinical trial taking place in ten European countries, the UK and a collaboration with multiple specialized sarcoma centres in Australia, Canada and North America, investigating treatment options for this sarcoma.

Exploring genomic data to find gene networks and new treatments for liposarcoma patients

Principal Investigators: 

Dr Zoë Walters

Institution: 

University of Southampton

Award Amount: 
£248,398
Duration: 
36 months

Dedifferentiated liposarcoma is a particularly aggressive sarcoma subtype, and current treatments can be ineffective, with debilitating side effects. This project is exploring new ways of treating dedifferentiated liposarcoma, by identifying specific genetic changes which can be targeted with drugs.

Looking for new treatments for metastatic soft tissue sarcoma

Principal Investigators: 

Dr William English

Institution: 

The University of Sheffield 

Award Amount: 
£117,850
Duration: 
42 months

When soft tissue sarcoma spreads to other parts of the body the lungs are the most common site. Sadly, fewer than 20% of these patients will survive beyond five years, meaning that new treatments are urgently needed. In this project, based in the laboratory of Dr William English, a PhD student will use cutting edge laboratory methods to identify new treatments for soft tissue sarcoma that has spread to the lungs.

Searching for new therapies for undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma

Principal Investigators: 

Professor Valerie Brunton 

Institution: 

The University of Edinburgh

Award Amount: 
£199,188
Duration: 
42 months

Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) is the most common subtype of soft tissue sarcoma. However, these cancers vary a great deal from person to person and are genetically very complex, meaning that there are very few new treatment options, and no important advances have been made in recent years.

Professor Brunton’s team have set up a screen to test which drugs may be able to stop the growth of and/or kill UPS cells. In this PhD project, the screen will be extended to look at activity of a further set of known anti-cancer drugs.

Translational studies in the TAPPAS trial for angiosarcoma

Principal Investigators: 

Dr Paul Huang

Institution: 

Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)

Award Amount: 
£120,000
Duration: 
42 months

Angiosarcoma is a rare form of soft tissue sarcoma that starts in the cells lining blood vessels or lymph vessels. It has poor long-term survival and a recent trial, named TAPPAS, was terminated early due to lack of treatment effect.

The trial tested the anticancer drug pazopanib and the therapeutic antibody TRC105, which both target the formation and maintenance of vascular cells that form blood vessels. There were a small group of angiosarcoma patients in the trial who showed a long-term response to the drugs, but it is not understood why.

A genomic approach to unlocking the secrets of sarcoma

Principal Investigators: 
Institution: 

University of Birmingham 

Award Amount: 
£249,584
Duration: 
24 months

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.

Targeting cancer cells while they are vulnerable to breakage

Principal Investigators: 

Professor Vincenzo D'Angiolella

Institution: 

The University of Oxford 

Award Amount: 
£116,545
Duration: 
42 months

Cancer cells grow in an uncontrolled manner, dividing and growing without fully duplicating their genetic material. This leaves them vulnerable to breakage in a way that normal cell are not. This PhD project is looking at ways to exploit this vulnerability in osteosarcoma cells, by using drugs that increase the instability in these cancer cells and cause them to die.

Managing the fear of sarcoma returning

Principal Investigators: 

Dr Rachel Taylor 

Institution: 

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Award Amount: 
£80,389
Duration: 
15 months

A person’s fear of their sarcoma returning can have a huge impact on their quality of life. This project will explore the nature of fear of recurrence in patients with sarcoma, leading to the development of an intervention to help patients manage this difficult issue.

The project builds on previous work by the same research group, also funded by Sarcoma UK.

Focusing high intensity ultrasound on sarcoma

Principal Investigators: 

Dr Paul Lyon

Institution: 

The University of Oxford

Award Amount: 
£119,934
Duration: 
48 months

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound is an exciting treatment method, capable of destroying a tumour by targeting it with focused ultrasound waves from outside the body. It is both non-invasive and uses no radiation. This exciting early phase study is looking at how High Intensity Focused Ultrasound can be applied to soft tissue sarcoma.

Investigating drug resistance in Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma

Principal Investigators: 

Dr Robin Jones

Institution: 

The Institute of Cancer Research

Award Amount: 
£120,000
Duration: 
42 months

Sarcoma UK is investing in research leaders of the future. Our PhD programme aims to start a researcher’s career in sarcoma by funding a training fellowship which focuses on a hypothesis-driven research project.

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