By choosing to focus on sarcoma and adopting a collaborative approach, we have had a meaningful, measurable impact on progress in the field. Our personal interest and sense of urgency has driven several unique areas of influence in the arena of sarcoma research.
Collaborative think tanks
We convene and charge the thought leaders in the field with designing programs to break through the bottlenecks and enable innovative ideas in sarcoma research. For instance, the Expert Panel of 2007 resulted in a QuadW grant with the Children’s Oncology Group that has addressed several needs. First, we upgraded the COG osteosarcoma tissue bank with quality assessment, annotation, and automated tissue requests, allowing a substantial number of previously unusable samples to be available for research. We provided biostatistical support that ended the backlog of experimental reports awaiting analysis, resulting in the publication of numerous papers. Hearing that there were difficulties in sharing data, we added funding for the high-density data component that is being implemented now. Once it became clear that these initiatives were indeed helpful, we added funding to have these same processes put in place for Ewings and soft tissue sarcomas. Additionally, in the current grant cycle, we have added metastatic tissue collection to the work of the grant.
Encouragement of top researchers and clinical talent to specialize in sarcoma
Through clinical fellowships and young investigator awards we have attracted and contributed to the development of young talent in sarcoma treatment and research.
Together with facilitating research though the tissue bank enhancements, we have supported the development of talent in both clinical and research arenas to broaden the stream of specialists focused on the field of sarcoma.
Young Investigator Awards through ASCO (Conquer Cancer Foundation) and AACR
Clinical and Research Fellowships though MD Anderson and Dana-Farber
When we feel a project has outsized importance, we provide funding that may not fit into the strategic categories described above:
We have provided “last brick in the wall” funding where a larger effort could not move forward because of lack of funding for a critical component. – an NCI immunotherapy trial, pilot study for a canine OS trial, SARC anti-PD1 trial in bone sarcoma.
We have underwritten funding of projects to allow them to move forward and sought outside funding as well – COG correlative studies (as they are not funded at previous levels), the creation of the MD Anderson Sarcoma Tissue Bank.
We are a resource for collaboratively solving problems
We have been sought out as partners in solving structural problems that are impeding progress in sarcoma research. These efforts address specific, threshold issues relating to sarcoma research – genomic conferences (and pushed the resulting agenda with critical funding to allow personalized medicine trials to proceed), personalized medicine meetings, tissue collection standard operating procedures, and preclinical data consideration for trials in metastatic osteosarcoma.
We participate “beyond QuadW” in ways that deepen our understanding of developments that affect sarcoma research
SARC board of directors, NCI Pediatric and Adolescent Solid Tumor Steering Committee, MD Anderson board of visitors, CPRIT metastatic osteosarcoma grant external advisory board, SU2C/St. Baldrick’s dream team advocates.
Our board regularly attends sarcoma conferences to better understand the current state of the science and build relationships with the scientists.