Sarcoma awareness month: signs of change on the horizon? | Anticancerfund

Sarcoma awareness month: signs of change on the horizon?

Opinion
20 July 2021

July is sarcoma awareness month - and it's a chance to reflect on whether things have changed much since the last one, which we blogged about here. It would be great to report that one year on there have been great strides - but sadly things have not changed much. And it's not just down to the covid-19 pandemic getting in the way of progress.

The issues that we highlighted last time - for example low-patient numbers, a lack of molecular targets, low commercial interest and so on are still true. This is a recurring story that I know from my own experience. My son, George, died of recurrent metastatic osteosarcoma in 2011. The disease had resisted aggressive chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and a range of other treatments. Nothing worked - the disease was relentless. This is the reality for many sarcoma patients. Even at that time we were aware that he was being treated in the same way as he would have been in the late 1970s. He would be treated in largely the same way today.

However, there are signs of change on the horizon. There is growing interest in the use of bioinformatics to help with the discovery of new drug candidates, including repurposing candidates. The PropAngio trial in angiosarcoma is exploring the use of propranolol, a widely used drug to treat high blood pressure. There has been some interest in the possible use of perioperative therapies - short-term treatments at the time of surgery - which may reduce the risk of recurrence after surgery. And we are aware that there is more of an appetite to explore greater collaboration among sarcoma specialists moving forward.

At the Anticancer Fund we are involved in some of these activities - and our involvement remains very active, including for osteosarcoma and other bone sarcomas. We look forward to being able to report progress on some of our projects in the near future - so watch this space as they say.

Pan Pantziarka

Pan Pantziarka is Programme Director Drug Repurposing of the Anticancer Fund. He is the co-ordinator of the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology project that the ACF has founded in partnership with the US not-for-profit organisation GlobalCures. By training Pan is a data scientist and author but he has switched fields to oncology. He has previously published in the area of cancer pre-disposition syndromes and is also chairman of the George Pantziarka TP53 Trust.