When cancer cells have low levels of oxygen they are harder to treat and have a higher chance of returning after surgery. This project is developing a method which can measure the amount of oxygen in soft tissue sarcoma cells. With this information, harder to treat sarcomas can be identified early. The data can also be used to identify drugs which target these low-level oxygen cancer cells.
Cancer-killing viruses can be used to treat limb sarcomas if delivered using a special technique which allows the treatment to be given straight to the affected area. However, although this treatment can prevent a tumour from growing, it cannot prevent it from spreading through the body. This project is looking at ways to combine this technique with drugs which activate the body’s immune system, with the aim of developing a treatment that can prevent both growth and spread of these soft tissue sarcomas.
This project investigates how the internal pressure of osteosarcoma tumours effects the growth and spread of the tumour. By gaining a better understanding of the role of internal pressure in osteosarcoma, it can be harnessed and targeted in treatments.
Chordoma is a rare and difficult to treat bone cancer. Previous research has shown that a protein called brachyury is active in chordoma cancer cells, and when this protein is not active the cancer cells die. This project is investigating how this protein becomes active in chordoma and potential ways to switch it off.
Drugs which work well for some patients with soft tissue sarcoma can, in other patients, only work for a short time, or not work at all. This project is investigating why different cases of soft tissue sarcoma respond so differently to the same drugs. If you can accurately predict how a patient will respond to treatment, no crucial time is wasted.
Patient experience is central to measuring the quality of care in the NHS, and government policy encourages the use of patient-reported outcomes (PRO) to facilitate patient-clinician communication. However, patients with sarcoma may have experiences which are not reflected accurately with standard or generic PRO measures (PROMs). The aim of this project is to develop a sarcoma-specific PROM (S-PROM) and a strategy to incorporate this into clinical practice.
Patients with inoperable or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma have a poor prognosis with overall survival rates (of approximately a year) when treated with current first line palliative chemotherapy. There has been no change in the standard of care for over 20 years. Improved outcomes could be achieved by identifying biomarkers that can select soft tissue sarcoma patients most likely to benefit from current and novel therapies.
Myxofibrosarcomas are cancers that most commonly develop in the limbs. Surgery is the main treatment but because of the way these cancers grow, it is a challenge to successfully remove them. Unlike other cancers that are easily visible to the surgeon, myxofibrosarcomas often infiltrate nearby tissues making it difficult to accurately assess how much cancer is present. There is a risk that some cancer is left behind after surgery, and this may result in a poorer outcome for the patient.
Cancer is caused by mutations (or mistakes) in DNA – a person’s biological instruction manual. Some of these mutations are specific for certain cancer types and are therefore useful to make specific diagnoses and in some instances to determine the likelihood of a cancer becoming more aggressive in behaviour. There have been recent studies, albeit in small sample numbers that have discovered a spectrum of specific mutations in a rare form of cancer called malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNSTs).