Professor Alison Gartland and her research team at the University of Sheffield previously tested over 4320 different drugs for their effectiveness at reducing the growth of osteosarcoma cells.

Of those tested, five were found to be highly effective in reducing cell growth, while also restricting their ability to move. This suggests that they may also be able to prevent osteosarcoma spreading to other parts of the body (metastasising).

Initial results from the study also indicate that the drugs may be able to kill osteosarcoma cells that are resistant to current chemotherapy.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust has recently awarded a research grant to enable continuation of this project, which will benefit from collaboration between three sarcoma surgical centres to investigate the potential new treatments further. The original funding for this project was provided by Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony and shows the importance of charities working closely together to ensure research can continue.

The new grant will bring together researchers from three specialist bone sarcoma surgical centres: the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry and Newcastle University – all of which are supported by the Bone Cancer Research Trust’s Infrastructure Grants.

What does the next stage of research aim to achieve?

The new research grant will allow the team of researchers to expand their initial results and test the drugs in more clinically relevant laboratory models.

It will also enable the researchers to use tumour samples from osteosarcoma patients, in order to maximise the relevance of the results obtained.

How will it benefit primary bone cancer patients?

There is a distinct lack of new treatment options available for osteosarcoma patients, particularly for patients with metastatic disease. This new research will hopefully progress these 5 potential new treatments towards the clinic.

Professor Gartland said:

This funding from the Bone Cancer Research Trust is crucial to enable us to test the drugs we have identified in a more clinically relevant model. Without the data from these experiments, we simply would not be able to get drugs to the clinic. We are really excited to start this project, and we hope to be able to make a difference to bone cancer patients so they can live fuller longer lives.

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

We are delighted by the initial findings from Professor Gartland’s study. Her project could have significant benefits for future osteosarcoma patients. The next stage of research will benefit hugely from collaboration between three bone sarcoma surgical centres in the UK and the use of patient samples to evaluate the findings further, which has been made possible through our Infrastructure Grants. Our hope is that this research will lead to new treatment options for future osteosarcoma patients that will allow patients to live longer and fuller lives.

Find out more about this research project below:

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