Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog




Sarcoma Awareness Month: Immunotherapy for Sarcoma 2019 Research Update

July is Sarcoma Awareness Month, and as a rarer form of cancer, more awareness and support is urgently needed. A cancer of the body’s connective tissues, including muscle fat, bone, and cartilage, sarcomas account for just one percent of all adult cancer diagnoses in the United States each year. Sarcoma is more prevalent in children, representing approximately 15% of all childhood cancer cases. 

Sarcomas are generally treated with surgery and are often combined with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. However, in most cases, the cancer will recur and patients will develop metastatic disease. There is a significant need for effective drug treatments, especially for recurrent or metastatic disease. Moreover, scientists must gain a better understanding of sarcoma’s biology and its interaction with the immune system

Sarcoma Research News

The Cancer Research Institute and Chordoma Foundation have established a research partnership to advance treatment options for chordoma, a rare sarcoma that occurs in the bones of the skull base and spine. Through this partnership, the two organizations will identify and fund promising chordoma research based in immuno-oncology through a joint fund awarded under CRI’s Clinic and Laboratory Integration Program (CLIP).

Learn more about the CRI-Chordoma Foundation Partnership

Apply for a CLIP grant

Chordoma Research Landscape

As part of Sarcoma Awareness Month in July, CRI spoke with Joan Levy, PhD, 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 the interview with Dr. Joan Levy

Sarcoma Patient 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. It saved her life. She went back to school and completed degrees in evolutionary biology and creative technology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Today, Carley is happy and healthy, working as a digital storyteller in Colorado.

Learn more about Carley's fight against sarcoma

Sarcoma Scientist Spotlight

Through her CLIP Grant, Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is analyzing patient samples to determine how Poly ICLC (a TLR agonist, a type of non-specific immune stimulant) affects the tumor environment and immune responses against specific mutations, to identify how Poly ICLC could complement existing immunotherapies.

Learn more about Dr. Nina Bhardwaj's work

Immunotherapy for Sarcoma Updated

With new breakthroughs in immunotherapy, we keep our sarcoma immunotherapy information up to date. In April 2019, Eli Lilly and Company announced that it is withdrawing Lartruvo (olaratumab) from the market for the treatment of advanced soft tissue sarcoma (STS). Check for an updated list of approved treatments and sarcoma clinical trial targets.

View immunotherapy for sarcoma webpage 

Sarcoma Clinical Trials

Many advanced, metastatic sarcomas are resistant to conventional approaches, and clinical trials provide access to cutting-edge medicine. Immunotherapies have shown effectiveness in clinical trials and could become approved for sarcoma patients in the near future. Considering a clinical trial? Our Clinical Trial Finder will match you to trials for which you may be eligible.

Find a Sarcoma Clinical Trial

Support Sarcoma Research

Cancer Research Institute funds immunotherapy for sarcoma research to save more lives. From adoptive immunotherapy with CD8+ T cells for patients with metastatic synovial sarcoma to revealing a T cell-dependent mechanism of cancer immunoediting in a sarcoma model, our scientists are working toward a future immune to cancer. We can only do so with your help.

Donate to Sarcoma Research


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