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Expanding Sarcoma Treatment Options

Dr. Brenda Weigel

Dr. Brenda Weigel, review contributor

“Deeper understanding of disease biology may expand sarcoma treatment options” - HemOnc Today, July 10, 2017

That’s the title of a good up-to-date review of sarcoma. There are over 50 major types of sarcoma. Some of these sarcoma types don’t have many subtypes, an example is synovial sarcoma, and some have many, for example osteosarcoma. Researchers found over 60,000 mutations when checking the DNA in 107 patients. Most of these mutations don’t have a role in cancer, some are just a part of growing up. Sixty of the 107 patients had mutations that could be treated, what these researchers called actionable. Most of the treatments are not cure, or disappearance of the tumor, just slowing of growth.

Ewing’s sarcoma has a translocation in the chromosomes. That is relatively easy to find, yet treatment for this “obvious” abnormality has so far proven disappointing. Many sarcomas don’t have readily findable markers in testing the DNA, making it a challenge to treat some of these cancers.

Dr. Brenda Weigel of the U of Minnesota commented that treating these cancers when they recur is especially difficult. She stated; “Over the last decade we have gained a much greater understanding of some of the biology that is relevant to different types of sarcomas, but it has also shown us that we know very little.” Olaratumab is a new drug that has shown some help in phase two studies, and that is encouraging, the first drug to show benefit in osteosarcoma in the advanced disease situation. The contemplated phase 3 study will evaluate the drug in a larger population. Not yet ready for general use.

Erybulin mesylate was approved by the FDA in 2016 and is the first drug to show benefit in liposarcoma. In 2015 Yondelis (trabectidin) was approved and was the first approved treatment for liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma in 30 years!

So much research is being done into the biology of cancer, and also sarcoma, worldwide. Examining the deep abnormalities in the genetics of cancer has opened new doors and stimulated the work toward new drugs. It is hopeful.

Larry Seymour, MD

RIS Board Member

Link to the referenced article in HemOnc Today, July 10, 2017

Featured Volunteer Needs – August 2017

Rein in Sarcoma totally relies on great volunteers (you!) for our success. THANK YOU to the more than 200 volunteers who made our Sarcoma Family Picnic and Party in the Park a grand success!

Volunteers - Centerpieces

Picnic Centerpieces

picnic servers

Sarcoma Family Picnic Servers

raffle volunteers

Raffle Volunteers

Here are the volunteer positions that we are currently looking to fill:

Patient and Family Support Committee

Rein in Sarcoma is looking for compassionate volunteers to help us better serve the needs of sarcoma patients and their loved ones. Our Patient and Family Support Committee reaches out to sarcoma patients and their loved ones by providing peer-to-peer mentoring, organizing social gatherings for those affected by sarcoma, providing gift bags for newly diagnosed and relapsed sarcoma patients, and by providing informational notebooks about sarcoma with hospital resources for sarcoma patients. This committee has monthly meetings and attends gatherings throughout the year.

For more information about this volunteer position contact Connie Dow at Ph: 844-727-2662 ext 3 or by email.

Apply for this position at: New Volunteer Form

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Welcome Janelle Calhoun as Our Executive Director

Janelle Calhoun PortraitThe Executive Search Committee composed of TRC members: Sarah Giga, Julie Rose, and Eileen Pinto as well as Deb Cossette, Sue and I is pleased to announce that Janelle Calhoun will become Rein in Sarcoma’s Executive Director effective July 1st.

We chose Janelle for this important role after interviewing many fine candidates.  Our selection process was developed and managed by our Talent Resources Committee (TRC).

Janelle graduated from St Olaf College with a major in Mediation and Dispute Resolution.  Her broad professional background includes varied roles at Mesaba Airlines, Eli Lilly and Thrivent Financial Services. As a pharmaceutical representative, she learned a great deal about the health care industry and relating to medical professionals.  For the last six years, she has been an award winning Licensed Financial Services Representative.

As a close friend of Karen, Janelle has been in leadership positions within Rein in Sarcoma since our inception in 2001. This has included serving on the Red Flags of Sarcoma Educational Committee (four years), our Development Committee (current), Registration co-chair for the Party in the Park, and Chair of the 2016 Party in the Park, and three years on our Board of Directors.

 

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