Current treatment for osteosarcoma relies on chemotherapy drugs that are non specific and cause significant toxicity. This project aims to find new treatments that will be more targeted towards cancer cells.
In the 1970s the introduction of chemotherapy treatment after surgery increased survival rates of osteosarcoma. Chemotherapy is now also used before surgery; however, since then, there has been no real advances in treatment options for osteosarcoma patients and the survival rates have remained poor, particularly for those patients who present with metastatic disease.
Current treatment for osteosarcoma relies on classical chemotherapy drugs which have significant side effects because they also kill non-cancerous cells; patients often become resistant to these drugs, further limiting their treatment options.
Professor Alison Gartland and her research team at The University of Sheffield have tested over 4320 compounds for their effect at reducing the growth of osteosarcoma cells. Out of them, 5 were found to be highly effective in reducing osteosarcoma cell growth; they also reduced the ability of the osteosarcoma cells to move, suggesting they may be able to prevent osteosarcoma spreading (metastasising) to other parts of the body.
Initial results indicate that these drugs may be able to kill osteosarcoma cells that are resistant to conventional chemotherapy.
What does this research aim to achieve?
The newly awarded research project will allow the team to expand the initial results and test these 5 drugs in more clinically relevant laboratory models.
The project will benefit from a collaboration with 3 specialist bone sarcoma surgical centres funded by our Infrastructure Grants (Birmingham, Newcastle and Oswestry) and will utilise tumour samples from osteosarcoma patients, to maximise the relevance of the results obtained.
How will this project benefit primary bone cancer patients?
There is a distinct lack of new treatment options available for osteosarcoma patients. This project aims to find potential new drug treatments that hopefully will enable more patients to live longer, fuller lives.