Filling the Research Gap

 Today’s post was written by Bert E. Thomas IV, PhD, MBA, CEO of the Sarcoma Foundation of America.

SFA CEO Bert Thomas, PhD, MBA
SFA CEO Bert Thomas IV, PhD, MBA

At the heart of the Sarcoma Foundation of America’s (SFA) mission is research. The needs of the sarcoma community are many – the need for more awareness, more education, and more resources is unquestionable. And while the SFA places a high priority on those needs, we know that one of the greatest needs of all is for increased research.

Nothing will ultimately change for sarcoma patients and their families without increased and sustained research.

This means that we advocate for increased federal funds for medical research, with the goal of seeing more of those dollars going to scientists working on sarcoma. We educate Congress and regulators about the needs of sarcoma patients, many of whom still have limited treatment options. We join forces with others, supporting endeavors like Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative in an effort to see more collaboration and shared knowledge. But we devote the majority of our resources on funding sarcoma research that would otherwise go unfunded.

Our aim is to fill the research gap – to pick up the slack and ensure that innovative research is not overlooked due to the lack of funding. Since our inception, the SFA has invested more than $7 million in sarcoma research. We have partnered with other non-profits and research facilities on research projects – including a recent PD-1 clinical trial – but a significant amount of our research funds are given through our annual research grant program. Through that program, we have funded 105 research projects and given grants to 92 different researchers. Forty-six institutions in 17 different states and three different countries have benefited from SFA research dollars. Grants funded by the SFA have contributed to understanding and progress in every category of the process involved with developing a new sarcoma treatment.

Our research grants have not only helped to fund specific scientific projects, but have also helped to encourage the next generation of sarcoma researchers. As federal research dollars become more scarce, it has become more and more difficult for young researchers to find the money to fund their research projects. This is especially true in a rare disease like sarcoma and means that the next big breakthrough could slip through our fingers as researchers leave the field.

In some way, shape or form, everything the SFA does is about research. The Race to Cure Sarcoma is about raising resources to fund more sarcoma research grants. Our patient education conferences help to teach patients and caregivers about the latest advances in sarcoma research and how those advances will impact patient treatment and outcomes. Our policy and advocacy work is focused on increasing federal research dollars and helping to speed up the translation of innovative sarcoma research into new therapeutic options. Research is the core of our mission.

More research, more hope, more cures.


The SFA is now accepting proposals for our 2017 research grants. Interested researchers can apply at More information about our application guidelines can be found at