Exploring better and safer treatments for osteosarcoma

Exploring better and safer treatments for osteosarcoma

Recipient: Associate Professor Christine Hawkins
Institute: La Trobe University
Funding: $382,713 July 2016 to June 2020

Hope for bone cancer patients.

Around 23 Australians aged 0 - 19 years are diagnosed each year with the bone cancer osteosarcoma. In a stark contrast to the dramatic improvements in outcomes for children and teenagers with other types of cancer, survival rates for those diagnosed with osteosarcoma have changed little in the last four decades – only around 60 per cent survive more than five years after diagnosis.

This project, led by Associate Professor Hawkins, investigates the efficacy of new anticancer drugs called “IAP antagonists”.

These drugs inactivate a group of proteins (IAPs) that are present in particularly high levels within osteosarcoma cells and facilitate the survival, growth and spread of these cancer cells. Researchers in the Hawkins group are also exploring the possibility that IAP antagonists may reduce the risk of therapy-related cancers arising in cured osteosarcoma patients.