A key strategy of the Rein in Sarcoma Educational Program is to reach medical professionals who are apt to first see what turns out to be a sarcoma cancer. Through such education we hope that sarcoma cancer will be diagnosed more quickly, leading to significant increases in sarcoma survivorship. RIS launched its first program directed to school nurses, starting at the Osseo School District on March 7th.
Marlee Brice, a retired RN and Red Flags Committee member, began contacting school districts last fall to evaluate interest in RIS presenting an educational program called Understanding Pediatric Sarcomas to their school nurses. Elaine Forbes of Osseo School District invited us to present to the Osseo School Nurses.
Marlee and Sue Wyckoff presented to about 25 elementary school nurses at 7:30 a.m. Marlee shared a presentation on the signs and symptoms of the three most common sarcomas in children: Rhabdomyosarcoma, Osteosarcoma, and Ewings Sarcoma. Sue followed by presenting the stories of Jocelyn Dickhoff, Julian Baultrippe and longtime survivor Julie Rose. The program was well-received and the nurses asked questions and filled out evaluation forms.
Last year I wrote about an osteosarcoma meeting that I attended. I attended the same meeting this year in January, called the FACTOR 2018 Conference. The conference objective is to “Collaborate with all interested parties on advancing treatments and improving outcomes for patients with osteosarcoma.”
This meeting involved researchers from around the US and one from London, but also breakout sessions for kids with osteosarcoma and sessions for those grieving. It started Thursday with a free second opinion clinic run by the University of Miami Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Logan Spector, PhD spoke about the BOOST registry he has started at the University of Minnesota for osteosarcoma cases. Subree Subramanian PhD, also from UMN talked of epigenetics and their inﬂuence on genetics of the RNA molecule. Osteosarcoma research at the University of Minnesota is very active, and supported in part by Rein in Sarcoma to a tune of over $140,000 this year.
If you are interested in going to next year’s FACTOR meeting, it is open to all who have any connection at all to osteosarcoma, just email me and I will get you the information. (It’s in Miami in January).
John Seymour MD
We’d like to draw your attention to a promising new therapy for osteosarcoma patients that recently went to clinical trial at the Masonic Cancer Center and at 30 other hospitals around the country. This is exciting news for a disease which has had little in the way of new treatments in the past 30 years.
Masonic Cancer Center of the University of Minnesota researchers, led by Dr. Brandon Moriarity, developed this therapy which uses an antibody, VX15, developed by Vaccinex, to block the activity if semaphorin 4D (SEMA4D), a causative gene of osteosarcoma. The VX15 activates the immune system and can cause the immune system to kill the osteosarcoma cancer cells.
1. Divine, M (2018), ‘A new cancer treatment is in clinical trial thanks to Zach Sobiech fund’, TwinCitiesPioneesPress.com, 10 February, accessed March 5, 2018.