A protein called FGFR1 was found to have a key role in controlling the communications within osteosarcoma cells that result in the formation of lung metastases.
Key findings of this research
Funding was awarded to Prof Agamemnon Grigoriadis who is based at King's College London, to investigate novel approaches to reduce the spread, resistance to treatment and recurrence of osteosarcoma.
When FGFR1 was stopped from functioning by using an inhibitor (which is currently in clinical trials for other cancers), the spread of cancer cells to the lungs was reduced.
With further funding from the Bone Cancer Research Trust, Prof Grigoriadis is now investigating the possibility of inhibiting other signalling proteins at the same time as FGFR1, in order to achieve a greater reduction in metastatic spread.
A complementary piece of research also funded by the Bone Cancer Research Trust, discovered that osteosarcoma patients with high levels of FGFR1 had poorer responses to chemotherapy. This study was carried out by Prof Adrienne Flanagan OBE and Dr Sandra Strauss from University College London, and provided a rationale for inclusion of patients with osteosarcoma in clinical trials using FGFR inhibitors.
Why is this research important?
The Bone Cancer Research Trust is committed to supporting this research, we hope that further investigations in this area would arrive at the development of new treatments for metastatic disease, to benefit patients in whom the presence of these proteins is confirmed.
Prof Grigoriadis presented an update of this project at the International Osteosarcoma Symposium in January 2019 organised by the Bone Cancer Research Trust and our friends at Children with Cancer UK.