UCLH has recruited the first patient in Europe to a major new study to see if a combination of cancer drugs can benefit patients with Ewing sarcoma.

ESPIRIT - A Phase I Study of a Combination of the PARP inhibitor, Niraparib and Temozolomide in Patients with Previously Treated, incurable Ewing Sarcoma

UCLH has recruited the first patient in Europe to a major new study to see if a combination of cancer drugs can benefit patients with a rare bone cancer. Patients over the age of 12 years with Ewing sarcoma, which affects fewer than 100 patients a year in the UK but is the second most common primary bone tumour in teenagers and young adults, will be eligible to take part in a study exploring the effects of combining a new drug called Niraparib with drugs used for treatment of Ewing sarcoma called Temozolomide (Arm 1) or Irinotecan (Arm 2).

The team at UCLH, led by UCLH consultant Dr Sandra Strauss, will explore the optimal doses of Niraparib and Irinotecan that can be given in combination. Irinotecan is routinely used to treat patients with different kinds of cancer, so researchers already know a lot about its side effects. Niraparib causes cancer cells to die by blocking an enzyme called PARP that usually helps cells repair damaged DNA. Niraparib has been tested in adult patients with ovarian cancer so its side effects are known in that patient population; but this is the first study to give Niraparib to adolescents and in this combination. Different patients on the trial will be given different doses of the drugs for different lengths of time, with their health monitored very closely.

Dr Strauss said: “Ewing sarcoma cells have been found to be particularly sensitive to PARP inhibitors such as Niraparib in the laboratory and the combination of these drugs work extremely well in preclinical studies; we are very excited to have the opportunity to see if they can benefit patients with a very rare cancer that mainly affects young people; and who have very little access to clinical trials of new therapies. We are grateful to our colleagues from SARC (Sarcoma Association for Research through Collaboration) a charity based in the USA, who have worked closely with us to bring the study to the UK; the first such study in Europe.”

The study is supported by SARC, Tesaro, who manufactures Niraparib, and the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54CA178512, and has been endorsed by the Cancer Research UK new agents committee. Click here for more information about the study.

If you would like any more information on clinical trials in general, or would like to take part in this study, please contact us at The Bone Cancer Research Trust. We are happy to answer your queries and, if required, pass on your details to the lead of this trial, Dr Sandra Strauss.