A photo of researcher Richard Martin
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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.

This project is building on previous work, developing a bone replacement material which specifically kills cancer cells, actively encourages the growth of new bone cells and contains an antibacterial agent which reduces the possibility of surgical site infection.

In vivo and in vitro evaluation of novel gallium doped bioactive glasses for the management of osteosarcoma.

The development of new bioactive materials will improve clinical outcomes for patients with bone cancer. The bioactive glass will provide a controlled release of key metal ions to induce tumour cell death and simultaneously stimulate new bone growth. In addition, the material will contain antibacterial agents to reduce the possibility of surgical site infections.

The material developed will be composed of calcium and phosphorous, the key building blocks of bone. It will also contain gallium, a metal widely used in cancer treatment and known to selectively target tumour cells, and strontium, which is a known antimicrobial. It will be made as a single multicomponent glass which will ensure ease of delivery as the surgeon will only need to use a single material for bone replacement filling. The material will then provide a controlled release of these ions over an extended time period directly at the surgical site.

Initial experiments using cancer cells grown on these novel materials has shown the materials specifically kill bone cancer cells while helping healthy bone cells to grow. The present study will evaluate these materials more rigorously using relevant animal models. The anticipated outcome is the development of novel materials that will significantly improve patient well-being, reduce the possibility of surgical-site infections and reduce the possibility of tumours redeveloping or spreading to other sites. Simultaneously, the material will also help new bone to grow, reducing healing times.

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