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.
How will this project tackle this challenge?
This PhD studentship aims to analyse tumour tissue and blood samples obtained from angiosarcoma patients on the TAPPAS trial to understand which patients are the most likely to benefit from drug treatment. This could make it possible to give the drugs only to patients who will benefit, while sparing those who are unlikely to benefit from the unnecessary side effects.
The project will also explore whether a blood test could be used to monitor how well someone is responding to treatment, without requiring tissue biopsies.
What this means for people affected by sarcoma
Being able to treat sarcoma in a more targeted, personalised way would mean kinder treatment with fewer side effects, as well as a better chance of recovery.
Understanding each patient’s response could make it possible to give sarcoma drugs only to patients who will benefit in the future, while sparing those who are unlikely to benefit from the unnecessary side effects.