2017 Sarcoma Research Update

 

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Jason Sears, Zach Stupor (Biolabrary Manager),
and Megan Gundle (Oregon State Director, NWSF)

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Dr. Seth Pollack (Fred Hutch Sarcoma Researcher),
Dr. Lee Cranmer (Sarcoma Center Director), Jason Sears,
and Bob Ortblad (NWSF Board Member)

 

The Northwest Sarcoma Foundation has provides grants to support sarcoma research within the Pacific Northwest since 2013. We continued funding important research efforts in 2017 that may someday help not only local sarcoma patients, but sarcoma warriors around the world. The Northwest Sarcoma Foundation provided $50,000 to support three projects over the past year:

The University of Washington (UW) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s HIDRA database, a state-of-the-art database that integrates clinical, radiographic and pathology data from cancer patients. Thanks to the ongoing support of the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation, the HIDRA database now includes data from over 1,000 sarcoma patients. According to project director Dr. Seth Pollack, the sarcoma program faculty have been using this database to conduct clinical research projects. Dr. Pollack reports, “We published a paper in Cancer, a prestigious peer-reviewed journal, titled ‘T cell Receptor Fraction and Clonality are Correlated with PD-1 and PD-L1 Expression in Soft Tissue Sarcomas.’ This study profiled the immune response to different sarcoma subtypes to identify which ones will likely respond to immunotherapy. We found that undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma showed the most promise.” In addition, the team at UW continues to collect sarcoma tumor tissue, which is stored in a tumor repository. Tumor samples collected before and after treatment on clinical trials is stored in this repository for future research.

The Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute’s BioLibrary, a repository of tumor specimens collected, annotated and stored for the purpose of advancing medical research. The OHSU Knight BioLibrary recruits over 50 sarcoma patients per year to participate in the repository, with each patient providing tumor tissue from biopsies and surgeries as well as blood samples. The BioLibrary now has nearly 7,000 sarcoma specimens available for researchers to access. In addition, the BioLibrary collaborates with sarcoma researchers to collect and store sarcoma tissue from patients participating in clinical trials. Zach Stupor, the BioLibrary Operations Manager, reports that they will also soon be embarking on a sarcoma patient-derived xenograft (“mouse avatar”) project with an OHSU sarcoma researcher.

Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI), an independent research organization focused on developing new treatment options for children with cancer. The NWSF pass-through gift (What is a pass-through gift?) is in memory of Brad Ventura, who lost his battle with sarcoma at the age of 17 after inspiring hundreds to rally in support of better treatments. These funds sponsored “Brad’s Bench” in the cc-TDI lab, where several active sarcoma research projects are ongoing.

The Northwest Sarcoma Foundation remains dedicated to supporting sarcoma research within our region. We are thrilled to be the primary funding source behind the sarcoma repositories in Seattle and Portland, providing support for an essential but under-recognized research resource. Sarcoma repositories, both databases and tumor banks, are used by researchers to advance our understanding of these cancers in order to develop new treatments. This research cannot be done without access to quality data and specimens. The Pacific Northwest is fortunate to have these resources available right here, where local researcher as well as those around the world can use them in the fight to END SARCOMA.

Dr. Lara Davis
Board Member, Northwest Sarcoma Foundation

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