Thanks to our supporters, the Bone Cancer Research Trust have awarded our largest ever research grant to a project that will create unprecedented collaboration across the UK aiming to improve outcomes in osteosarcoma.

The pioneering project ‘ICONIC’ will begin in a few months, and will for the first time include osteosarcoma patients of all ages. ICONIC is a UK-wide collaboration between all new patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the medical professionals involved in treating patients and scientists trying to understand the disease and find more effective new treatments.

Osteosarcoma survival rates haven't improved in the last 30 years. In the last 10 years, no new treatments for osteosarcoma have reached phase 3 clinical trials and patients over the age of forty have never been included in clinical trials. ICONIC will change this and offer new hope to patients of the future!

Osteosarcoma is a rare cancer, but all patients deserve the same chance at survival and ICONIC is our way to make this happen.

The project is one of the largest collaborations in osteosarcoma research in the UK, bringing clinical and scientific experts together from University College London, The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore, The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, Newcastle University, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital in Oxford, The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Velindre Hospital in Cardiff and Northern Ireland Cancer Centre.

Project lead, Dr Sandra Strauss, from UCL, said:

The current treatments available to patients are intensive and difficult to tolerate, involving life-changing surgery and incredibly tough chemotherapy regimens, based on old drugs which were developed decades ago. Osteosarcoma is a long way behind other cancers in terms of new treatments and improvement in survival because this is such a rare tumour and the biology is poorly understood. For these reasons, we need to take a different, more co-ordinated approach, and work together to address important research questions more efficiently and effectively. This project may not find all the answers, but it’s a major step that will take us some of the way.

ICONIC is expected to take 4.5 years to complete and will include two crucial elements:

1. A patient registry

ICONIC is the UK's first ever patient registry and clinical study to capture patient samples and complete medical data from osteosarcoma patients of all ages.

Multiple tumour and blood samples will be collected from every newly diagnosed osteosarcoma patient who wants to take part, from the point of their diagnosis, and through their treatment and beyond. Their ongoing medical data will also be recorded including their age, medical history, information about their tumour, its stage and location, their treatment and how they are responding to treatment.

The patient registry and the samples collected will become a resource to accelerate and validate research findings.

2. Clinical & laboratory research

As part of ICONIC, researchers in Sheffield and Newcastle will see if cancer cells can be tracked in the blood so that in the future, we can identify more rapidly those patients who are benefiting from treatment or those likely to relapse.

In addition to the above, the tumour and blood samples and clinical information from ICONIC will be made available to support other external research projects.

The ultimate aim

ICONIC will accelerate the discovery, testing, and delivery of new, more effective treatments for patients of all ages and where possible personalise treatments to individual patients

ICONIC will build upon the Bone Cancer Research Trust sample collection Infrastructure Grants awarded in 2017 / 2018 allowing NHS primary bone cancer surgical centres to have resources in place to ensure robust sample collection.

The samples and data collected through ICONIC will undergo comprehensive, large-scale molecular analysis as part of the Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project, which is underway at UCL and aligns with the Genomics England 100,000 Genomes Project. This project is led by Professor Adrienne Flanagan and funded by the Tom Prince Cancer Trust.

To find out more about ICONIC please click here.