FGFR (which stands for Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor) belongs to a family of cell receptors which, once activated, initiate a pathway of signalling which is essential for cell growth and transformation into an abnormal, cancerous, cell.
Professor Agi Grigoriadis and his team, who are based at Kings College London, aimed to gain evidence and further knowledge of FGFR, and it’s functioning, specifically in osteosarcoma. They hoped that this would allow them to identify the possible role of FGFR in the spread of osteosarcoma to other areas of the body; clarifying FGFR as a potential treatment target.
What were the findings of this research?
During this project, Professor Grigoriadis proved FGFR to be present in higher levels in bone cells (known as osteoblasts) that had transformed to a cancerous osteosarcoma cells than in healthy bone cells. Furthermore, this high FGFR expression level remained throughout tumour growth and spread.
As their research progressed, the team investigated whether inhibiting FGFR signalling could halt the transformation of osteosarcoma cells and provided the first indication that this may well be the case and that FGFR may be targetable for inhibiting osteosarcoma growth and development.
This work was successful in concluding the FGFR signalling pathway to play an important role in regulating the growth and control of osteoblast cells, which are key cells that become cancerous in osteosarcoma development and spread. However the signalling pathway is extremely complex, particularly when attempting to target this pathway therapeutically and so further research is required to fully understand this pathway and how to target it.
Professor Grigoriadis told us We are grateful that we have fulfilled one of the Bone Cancer Research Trusts grants to obtain enough preliminary and proof-of concept data to obtain larger and longer-term funding. This BCRT-funded work was instrumental in being awarded a 3yr post-doctoral grant from the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust to continue this work and uncover the therapeutic potential of the FGFR pathway in osteosarcoma.
This research project influenced future research by Professor Grigoriadis and led to the most recent funding the Bone Cancer Research Trust have provided to his team, which you can read about here.