NIH Grant Awarded to Collaborative Team to Eradicate Ewing Sarcoma (Aune)

Despite the breakthroughs being made in treating many cancers with less toxic, targeted, and immune-based therapies, Ewing sarcoma’s 40-year-old chemotherapy regimen remains a significant contributor to mortality and long-term cardiovascular complications adolescent and young adult cancer patients.

An ongoing collaborative project initiated by the Rutledge Cancer Foundation collaborates with Qana Therapeutics, Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (GCCRI), Baylor College of Medicine, and UNT Health Science Center aim to develop novel treatments for Ewing’s sarcoma with minimal side effects, especially cardiovascular.

Recently awarded a two-year NIH grant through a combined effort of the National Cancer Institute and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the project is led by Co-Principal Investigators Gregory Aune, MD, PhD, at UT Health San Antonio/GCCRI and Jason T. Yustein, M.D.-Ph.D at Baylor College of Medicine. The work highlights the ongoing effort of NIH to fund new research focused on lessening cardiac toxicity for cancer patients through their program announcement “Improving Outcomes in Cancer Treatment-Related Cardiotoxicity.”

In the project, the team will utilize novel nanoparticle technology funded by Rutledge Cancer Foundation and developed by Qana Therapeutics and Dr. Andras Lacko from UNT Health Science Center to selectively deliver novel cytotoxic chemotherapies directly to Ewing’s tumors with high expression of a receptor, SR-B1. Importantly, SR-B1 is minimally present on heart cells, and preliminary studies in the lab have shown that this delivery strategy does not cause cardiac toxicity in young mice. During the two-year grant, the team hopes to generate critical data for early-phase patient clinical trials.

Additionally, the plan is to develop further this approach by utilizing next-generation therapies such as small molecules and nucleic acids to treat less toxicity in a broad range of sarcoma tumors.

SOURCE: NIH release

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Since 2004, UT Health San Antonio, Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute’s (Greehey CCRI) mission has been to advance scientific knowledge relevant to childhood cancer, contribute to the understanding of its causes, and accelerate the translation of knowledge into novel therapies. Through discovery, development, and dissemination of new scientific knowledge, Greehey CCRI strives to have a national and global impact on childhood cancer. Our mission consists of three key areas — research, clinical, and education.

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