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Sarcoma Awareness Month: 2020 Immunotherapy Research Updates

July 29, 2020

Last year, the Cancer Research Institute and the Chordoma Foundation announced a research partnership to advance treatment options for chordoma, an ultra-rare type of sarcoma that occurs in the bones of the skull base and spine. We’re happy to award Cassian Yee, M.D., of MD Anderson Cancer Center, the first CRI-Chordoma Foundation Clinic and Laboratory Integration Program (CLIP) grant this month. We're hopeful as researchers apply lessons learned in other cancers to sarcomas and multiply available treatments for these rare cancers. 

This July for Sarcoma Awareness Month, we look at genetics and genomics, new research, and how we’re working toward a future immune to sarcoma. 

Sarcoma Quiz

 

 

Genomics and Genetic Testing

Angiosarcoma survivor and CRI scientist Corrie Painter, Ph.D., and medical oncologist Eliezer Van Allen, M.D., discussed the current state of genetic testing for cancer patients in the clinic as well as highlighted efforts to tap into the full potential of genome-based medicine in our most recent CRI webinar for patients and caregivers. This work is particularly important in rare cancers, where patient data helps drive science and medicine forward.

Genomics and Genetic Testing Part 2

In a follow-up to the genomics and genetics webinar, Drs. Painter and Van Allen addressed more audience questions and discussed the Count Me In Project, which partners researchers directly with patients who share their samples and clinical information in order to speed important discoveries. Current projects include the Angiosarcoma Project and the Osteosarcoma Project.

Read Follow-up Q&A on genomics and genetics

Chordoma Research Landscape

Dr. Joan LevyWe spoke with Joan Levy, Ph.D., director of research at the Chordoma Foundation, in order to better understand the current state of the chordoma field and how our partnership might impact its future. With no systemic treatments approved for this sarcoma and new results in immunotherapy research published weekly, it’s a prime opportunity to test immunotherapies in chordoma patients.

READ Q&A on Chordoma

Sarcoma Survivor Story

For almost a year, Carley Rutledge’s doctors told her that the pain in her leg was a sports injury. When the pain kept getting worse, she saw another doctor who gave her the grave news: at age sixteen, she had stage IV Ewing’s sarcoma. After one year of chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer subsided, but it eventually returned. Carley decided to try an experimental immunotherapy called FANG (now called Vigil™), which uses her own tumor cells as a vaccine. She’s lucky she did. Today, Carley is happy and healthy.

Sarcoma Scientist Spotlight

Dr. Cassian YeeCRI CLIP Investigator Cassian Yee, M.D., has developed a strategy to identify immunogenic targets by directly examining the protein fragments presented on the surface of chordoma cells. This will enable him to generate chordoma-reactive T cells in the lab and thereby validate these immune targets for adoptive cellular therapy. His team includes a computational biologist, an experienced sarcoma clinician, and a specialized T cell laboratory.

Learn about Dr. Yee's sarcoma research

Immunotherapy for Sarcoma Information Updated

Immunotherapy for sarcoma has some success cases, including the earliest known instances of spontaneous regression, although sarcoma cancer immunology is still largely unknown. Check for an updated list of approved treatments and sarcoma clinical trial targets.

VIEW Immunotherapy for Sarcoma UPDATE

Find a Sarcoma Clinical Trial

A variety of new and promising cancer immunotherapy treatments are only available to patients in clinical trials. Our Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder will match you to trials for which you may be eligible, and you can help speed the development of potentially lifesaving drugs for yourself and others.

FIND A Cancer Clinical TRIAL

Support Sarcoma Research

In 2012, CRI CLIP Investigator Robert D. Schreiber, Ph.D., CRI Predoctoral Fellow Matthew Vesely, Ph.D., and their colleagues revealed a T cell-dependent mechanism of cancer immunoediting using a sarcoma model. This insight has advanced our understanding of how the immune system can both constrain and promote tumor development. This Sarcoma Awareness Month, support lifesaving cancer immunotherapy research.

DONATE to Sarcoma Research

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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