The Karen Wyckoff Sarcoma Foundation is dedicated to Sarcoma Cancer research, support and education...and the fight to find a cure.
Projects Funded 2009
RIS invests its money in cancer research
At its February 2009 meeting the KWRISF Board approved six new grants totaling $121,000 in new sarcoma funding at the U of M Masonic Cancer center. We want you to understand this research, so we asked the scientists to help us translate. Read on, to see what your doctors and researchers are doing.
- Clinical Correlations Associated with Genes Upregulated in Fibromatosis
Principal Investigator: Amy P.N. Skubitz, Ph.D.
Collaborators: Edward Cheng, MD, Carlos Manivel, MD, Keith Skubitz, MD
Many sarcomas appear to be a single disease, but behave in different ways. In earlier studies, we suggested that there are two different subtypes of the sarcoma known as aggressive fibromatosis (AF), which could be distinguished by the amount of four proteins present in the tumor. In this study, we will develop new ways to measure these proteins in biopsies and test whether we can use these results to predict different behaviors of these tumors.
- MicroRNA Regulatory Networks in Synovial Sarcoma
Principal Investigator: Subbaya Subramanian, Ph.D Co-Principal Investigator: Denis Clohisy, MD
Cell behavior in the body is affected by messenger RNAs, which carry instructions in our cells, telling them what to do. Last year's KWRISF award helped us to do work in our lab showing that a special kind of small RNA, known as microRNAs, do not work properly in people who have synovial sarcomas. We think this plays a role in causing the cancer to grow. This year's grant will support continued work to help us better understand the relation between microRNAs and messenger RNA genes, which could allow us to develop new ways to diagnose and treat synovial sarcoma.
- Rein in Sarcoma Scholarship for a 2nd or 3rd year medical student with an interest in cancer & cancer education
RIS Scholarship Manager: Katie Dusenbery, MD
This new RIS scholarhsip will introduce a promising medical student to a career in musculoskeletal oncology, and to enlist their talents in educating other medical students on the proper evaluation and referral of patients with soft tissue and bone tumors. First scholarships are expected to be awarded in the fall of 2009.
- Therapeutic implications of PI3K inhibition of E2F1 apoptotic function in osteosarcoma
Principal Investigator: Timothy Hallstrom, PhD
Osteosarcoma (OS) often arises when RB1, a gene that normally blocks cancer growth in the body, stops working properly. Our past work suggests that OS will be even more aggressive when another gene, called PTEN, also stops working properly. This study will try to confirm that when both RB1 and PTEN stop working properly, OS is more aggressive. If true, this could help us develop drugs to treat OS more effectively.
- Somatic mutations in Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome Gene (NBS1) in Rhabdomyosarcomas
Principal Investigator: Simona Ognjanovic, Ph.D Co-Principal Investigator: Brenda Weigel, MD
Co-Investigators: Denis Clohisy, MD, Julie A. Ross, PhD
Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS) is a rare disorder in which genetic material is rearranged, leading to increased risk of cancer, including rhabdomyosarcoma. People who have NBS often show changes in the NBS1 gene, which normally would repair the rearrangements. Most people with rhabdomyosarcoma do not have NBS, but we believe problems with the NBS1 gene still could play a role in causing their cancer to grow. We will test rhabdomyosarcoma tumors, to see if we can better understand the role the NBS1 gene plays in this cancer’s growth and spread.
- Evaluation of PET as a Predictor of Response to Preoperative Treatment for Soft Tissue Sarcoma, A Phase II Trial
Principal Investigator: Edward Cheng, MD
Co-Investigators: Keith Skubitz,MD, Jerry Froelich,MD, Carlos Manivel, MD, Katie Dusenbery, MD Brenda Weigel, MD
This ongoing study, supported by KWRISF, investigates the use of special imaging (PET-CT scan) to assess the effect of chemotherapy on a patient’s cancerous tumor, to see if changes between the pre-chemo scan and the scans taken after chemotherapy treatment could be used to predict the patient’s response to treatment or future health. This early information could be helpful in deciding how to treat our patients and also could help in designing future new drug studies.
KWRISF will also collaborate later this year in funding a $50,000 grant to University of Minnesota researchers who are focusing on a laboratory study of the cause, progression, and treatment of bone and soft tissue sarcomas. This all University Grant program is a collaboration with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and the Roby Thompson Endowment in Musculoskeletal Oncology. Now in its third year, this project also represents the only all University sarcoma collaboration with researchers from multiple disciplines throughout the institution.
For information on previous grant awards of the KWRISF, click here.