The Bone Cancer Research Trust funded a study by Prof John Anderson from the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University College London, that aimed to identify a new biological target for the treatment of Ewing sarcoma.

Key findings of this research

Transcription factors are proteins that help turn specific genes "on" by binding to DNA. Once the genes are turned on, other proteins are produced that promote cancer growth.

Prof Anderson’s research revealed that a transcription factor named STAT3 is present and active in 58% of the Ewing sarcoma tissues he studied, and that Ewing sarcoma cells containing active STAT3, grow faster than those in which STAT3 is absent.

STAT3 was inactivated by using an inhibitor named S3i-201, and by doing so, the growth of Ewing sarcoma cells was reduced.

A second part of the research discovered that inactivation of STAT3 also affected the ability of Ewing sarcoma cells to release proteins named chemokines that could activate the body’s immune response against cancer cells.

Why is this research important?

Although further studies must be performed, the results from this research support the investigation into STAT3 as a therapeutic target for Ewing sarcoma.