Sarcomas are difficult to treat and there is an urgent need to develop more effective therapies. Like other cancers, sarcomas, develop blood vessels that ‘feed’ them with oxygen and nutrients, and allow their growth and spread. Several drugs have been developed that specifically target and damage these blood vessels and some of these drugs are now being used to treat sarcoma. While some patients clearly benefit from this type of therapy others don’t, making it difficult to tailor treatments to the needs of individual patients.
Magnetic nanoparticles will produce heat if exposed to an alternating magnetic field. If magnetic nanoparticles can get inside a tumour, an alternating magnetic field can be applied so that the particles heat up and the tumour cells are killed. This project investigated two different ways to deliver nanoparticles into the tumour using mesenchymal stem cells. One worked, one didn’t, and the group has now secured future funding to keep investigating the method that proved successful.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a muscle cancer that occurs in children. Previous research has shown that activation of a protein called YAP is a key cause of rhabdomyosarcoma, however how activation occurs is still unknown. This project is investigating how activation of YAP happens, and also if the protein has the potential to be used as a drug target. If we can understand how YAP turns on, we can work out how to turn it off.
Sarcomas are rare tumours that account for approximately 1% of all cancers in the UK. They represent a challenge to treating clinicians as diagnosis is often delayed and the tumours are commonly in an advanced stage or have spread to other parts of the body. Current treatment approaches for these advanced tumours have shown only modest response rates of 12-24% and are associated with significant toxicity in patients.
This proposal aims to develop new bioactive materials to improve clinical outcomes for patients suffering from bone sarcoma. The developed materials will provide a control release of key metal ions to induce tumour cell death and simultaneously stimulate grow new bone. In addition the material will contain natural antibacterial agents to reduce the probability of surgical site infections. Furthermore we envisage that the material will enhance blood flow therefore significantly reducing patient healing times.
This study looks at the quality of life of patients being treated for advanced sarcoma. Prospective means it looks at patients as they go along, which gives stronger data. This is better than retrospective data which looks at events in the past where memory or uncertainty often makes the information unreliable.
People with locally advanced or sarcoma that has spread or whose sarcoma has have had recurred after surgery may only be eligible for palliative treatment so quality of life becomes the primary concern rather than defeating the sarcoma.
This project is using DNA sequencing technology to identify the genes which make rhabdomyosarcoma a particularly aggressive cancer. Alongside this, the project will look for genes which could be potential drug targets in the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma.
This is an example of a translational research project, looking at ways to transfer results from the laboratory into a clinical trial in patients in a Phase 1 Trial. They are developing a system for treating limb sarcomas using Isolated Limb Perfusion (ILP) as well as oncolyic virotherapy (anti-cancer viruses)
This is a basic science project, finding out more about how chromosome abnormalities in the nuclei of sarcoma cells might upset the regulation of cell turnover. If they can understand more about this it might be an opening to developing new approaches to treatment.
Ewing’s sarcoma is a highly aggressive bone cancer that causes the bone to be destroyed. This study is looking at the processes by which Ewing’s cells disrupt normal bone biology and cause the destruction of the bone. By understanding the process by which bone is destroyed, treatments can be developed which prevent it from happening.