One of the most important factors for outcome prediction in Ewing sarcoma is the site of first presentation. 2 out of 3 patients who present without metastasis can be cured. Yet the 5 year event-free survival for patients with spread of the cancer to the lungs is only around 30% and lower still in those that have spread to other bones.
The fact that spread to differing organs affects the survival rate suggests that the tumour cells that cause spread to these organs differ. Professor Vormoor aimed to develop a pre-clinical model to enable the visualisation of Ewing sarcoma to provide the tools to examine this disease, including its spread to differing organs and the effects of novel drug treatments on Ewing sarcoma.
Professor Vormorr was successful in establishing a model to study the spread of Ewing sarcoma cells and, since this project finished, has been in the process of isolating cells that cause tumour growth in sites of metastasis. Once isolated, these cells can be studied further to analyses the genes in these cells which differ and may be causing tumour growth, spread and importantly, directing cells to the different organ sites. Understanding these mechanisms will hopefully provide researchers with information to help develop more specific therapies for patients with advanced stage Ewing sarcoma in the future.