Sarcoma Research

What research is being done and what is needed?

The National Cancer Institute over the years has dedicated a small amount of money to targeted research efforts at a handful of medical centers in the United States with programs centered on the 1% of cancer patients who develop Sarcoma. With the NCI budget being $4.8 billion, a similar proportion (1%) targeted to help find new therapies to help Sarcoma patients might be expected to be $48 million. It is hard to estimate, but review of data presented for the public on the NCI website indicates no more than $5-10 million per year is being spent on NCI Sarcoma research programs. There is a dire need for increased NCI funding for research into Sarcoma sub-types.  We need funding programs to build on discoveries of targets arising from genetic research in Sarcoma. Sarcoma may be ideally suited to immunotherapy approaches.

What type of research does the SFA advocate and support?

The SFA advocates for increased research funding for Sarcoma from both the public and private sectors. We work with government institutions, for-profit and non-profit cancer organizations, and industry to improve the level of awareness, interest and investment in translational research for Sarcoma.  Our advocacy efforts have resulted in the addition of language benefiting Sarcoma patients in publications by the National Cancer Institute.  Most recently, the SFA has partnered with the Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC) to support a long-term grant that will support increased research into Sarcoma. These efforts ensure that sarcoma, though relatively rare, receives attention from government and other entities that have the interest and ability to support scientific research into Sarcoma.

What type of research does the SFA fund?

The SFA raises funds to support basic research focused on discovering and developing new and effective therapies to treat and eradicate Sarcoma.  The SFA announces a call for grant proposals each October and accepts applications until January 31.  All projects related to Sarcomas are considered. The Medical Advisory Board reviews and approves all SFA grant recipients.

In addition to SFA sponsored grants, the organization has recently partnered with the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Capon Family to award a $450,000 research grant to a Sarcoma researcher.  We also work to expand the number of medical researchers who are interested in the study of Sarcoma by funding Young Investigator Awards privately and through ASCO. Due to IRS restrictions, the SFA does not fund clinical trial efforts. However, SFA strongly advocates for increased Sarcoma clinical research by government and private sector organizations developing new therapies against cancer.

SFA Funded Research Fills the Funding Gap

The SFA funds high risk, high reward projects that would not likely be funded by the government or pharmaceutical companies.  SFA supported research has led to:

The identification of novel druggable targets for not only Sarcoma, but for many more common cancers
The discovery of a new class of cancer inhibitors
The creation of mouse models for multiple Sarcoma subtypes
Development of state of the art proteomic approaches
Multiple gains in gene expression profiling
Millions of dollars of additional grants based on research findings from SFA research projects

Conquer Cancer Foundation Grants

The SFA is proud to be a supporter of nine Conquer Cancer Foundation grants.  The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is a non-profit organization with the goals of improving cancer care and prevention, and ensuring that all patients with cancer receive the highest quality of care.  As the philanthropic arm of the ASCO, the Conquer Cancer Foundation funds research and education programs both in the U.S. and abroad.  Over the past seven years, the SFA has helped to fund four Young Investigator Awards and two Advanced Clinical Research Awards in Sarcoma.

Career Development Award

The Career Development Award provides cancer research funding to clinical investigators in the first to third year of faculty appointment to establish an independent clinical cancer research program.  The Career Development Award is a three-year cancer grant totaling $200,000.

2012 Career Development Award
Mrinal Gounder, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)   
A Phase III, double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of sorafenib in desmoid tumors or aggressive fibromatosis (DT/DF)

Advanced Clinical Research Award

The Advanced Clinical Research Award is designed to fund investigators who are committed to clinical cancer research and who wish to conduct original research not currently funded.  These grants are for a total of $450,000 over a three-year period.

2010 Advanced Clinical Research Award
David G. Kirsch, MD, PhD, Duke University Medical Center, Department of Radiation Oncology
“Using Molecular Imaging to Identify Microscopic Residual Sarcoma Cells During Surgery”

2008 Advanced Clinical Research Award
Raphael Rousseau, MD, PhD, Centre Leon Berard, Institut d’Hematologie-Oncologie Pediatrique
“Nanoparticle-based Targeting Tumor Neoangiogenesis to Improve Surgical Resection of PrimaryTtumor and Lung Metastasis in Advanced Osteosarcoma “

Young Investigator Award

The YIA is a one-year grant designed to encourage and promote high quality research in clinical oncology by providing funds to promising investigators during the transition from a fellowship program to a faculty appointment.  The SFA encourages the development of young oncologists, supporting the future leaders of Sarcoma research and treatment.

2012 Young Investigator Award
David Van Mater, MD, PhD, Duke University Medical Center  
“A role for injury in sarcomagenesis”

2011 Young Investigator Award
Jason Luke, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
“Examination of the molecular and therapeutic effects of mTOR and PDGFRA inhibition in Advanced Synovial Sarcoma”

2010 Young Investigator Award
Jeffrey Harold Rothman, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center
“Obstruction of Transcription at Tumorigenic Chromosomal Translocations as Therapy”

2009 Young Investigator Award
Nino Rainusso, MD, Texas Children’s Hospital
“Identification and Characterization of Tumor-Initiating Cells in Human Osteocarcoma – A Model to Unravel the “Roots of Evil” in Bone Cancer”

2006 Young Investigator Award
Raymond Meng, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
“Targeting the Notch Signaling Pathway: A Novel Method to Inhibit Sarcomas with Constitutive Ras Activation”

2005 Young Investigator Award
John Lee, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
“Evaluation of the Hedgehog Signaling Pathway in the Growth of Myogenic Sarcomas”



Programs & Resources

Patient Resources Patient Resources

Information on sarcoma subtypes, treatments, clinical trials, and other important resources for sarcoma patients and families.

Patient Registry Sarcoma Patient Registry

Information on the Sarcoma Patient Registry. If you are diagnosed with sarcoma, please consider joining the Registry.

Sarcoma Research Sarcoma Research

Information on applying for a sarcoma research grant, current research funded by the SFA, and past research grants.

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