Sarcomas are rare cancers arising in soft tissue and bone. They are difficult to diagnose and treat, with 38-48% mortality for this often young age group. It is now generally accepted that molecular changes in cancer open avenues for personalized medicine. However, to achieve this for sarcoma there are at least two challenges:
- Representative model systems are scarce. Our group therefore focusses on the generation of representative sarcoma models for gene manipulation and preclinical testing of drugs.
- There are >50 histological subtypes. Emerging data indicated however that these actually represent three distinct molecular pathways. Our group studies prototypes for these underlying molecular mechanisms: chondrosarcoma to study tumors with specific “driver” mutations, vascular tumors to study specific translocations, and osteosarcoma as prototype for sarcomas with complex karyotype.
Examples of current projects
- Sarcoma modelling towards patient specific treatment (VICI-grant NWO Bovée JVMG)
- Epigenetic changes caused by IDH mutation as a target for novel anticancer therapy (KWF)
- Imaging Altered Metabolism in Cancer (LUMC Profile area “Biomedical Imaging)
- EuroSARC: European Clinical trials in Rare Sarcomas within an integrated translational trial network (FP7) www.eurosarc.eu
- EEC: European Ewing Consortium (FP7) www.euroewing.eu
Position in international context.
The research is performed within the context of international consortia such as the soft tissue and bone sarcoma group of the EORTC, euroSARC (www.eurosarc.eu), and euro Ewing consortium (www.euroewing.eu)
Within the LUMC the research is embedded within the research profile areas “Cancer Pathogenesis and Therapy” (https://www.lumc.nl/research/medical-research-profiles/cancer-pathogenesis-and-therapy/) as well as “Biomedical Imaging” (https://www.lumc.nl/research/medical-research-profiles/biomedical-imaging/). There is intensive collaboration with the department of molecular cell biology (Dr. K Szuhai), the Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics (CPM) and the Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research (LACDR)(Dr. E. Danen).