A new collaborative research project will aim to make use of data to improve outcomes for people with sarcoma (bone and soft tissue cancer). A team led by Dr Sandra Strauss at the UCL Cancer Institute will analyse and interrogate national cancer data to discover what factors make a difference to survival and prognosis for people with sarcoma.

This important project marks the first research collaboration between the Bone Cancer Research Trust and Sarcoma UK, who have jointly committed £118,000 to support this work.

Cancer patient data is collected by NHS Digital through the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) and provides a picture of sarcoma care in England. This data is important for telling us what’s working and what isn’t, which in turn can provide the evidence needed by decision makers to produce changes and improve outcomes. Previous research has found that many sarcoma patients are not being managed within specialist centres, and that these patients may have worse survival rates.

Dr Strauss will work with a data analyst, Reuben Hastings, to create a better knowledge and understanding of how patients with sarcoma are treated within the NHS. They will use the NCRAS data to look for variations in care and areas that need improvement by examining incidence, multidisciplinary team discussions, treatment pathways, and outcomes. They will look at different subtypes and across patients of all ages and regions of the country. The team hope that this project will lead to improvements in the care being delivered by the specialist services, as well as more sarcoma patients receiving their treatment in specialist sarcoma centres. The findings could have a direct impact on people with sarcoma now and in the future.

Dr Strauss and her team aim to use national cancer data to improve outcomes for sarcoma. Dr Strauss shared:

I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with both Sarcoma UK and Bone Cancer Research Trust on this project, which aims to increase our understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of patients with bone sarcomas across England. The work builds on a successful partnership developed with NHS Digital and provides a unique opportunity to identify factors that impact patient care and ways we can improve outcomes.

Reuben Hastings, data analyst, added:

I am very pleased to be working collaboratively with Sarcoma UK and Bone Cancer Research Trust. The data that bone sarcoma patients give to the NHS is very powerful. If we ask the right questions, this data can be the evidence needed to make vital changes and improve outcomes.

Dr Zoe Davison, Head of Research, Information & Support at the Bone Cancer Research Trust, said:

We’re delighted to be collaborating with Sarcoma UK as they share our vision to improve outcomes for primary bone cancer patients. We hope this new and exciting co-funded research project led by Dr Strauss will uncover which factors make a difference to survival rates and what needs to be done to improve outcomes for our patients.

Dr Sorrel Bickley, Director of Research Policy and Support at Sarcoma UK, said:

Collaboration truly is key to finding the best answers in research and that’s why we’re delighted to be co-funding this exciting research with the Bone Cancer Research Trust. We hope that Dr Strauss’ project will contribute to improving outcomes for people with sarcoma.