Identifying the right sarcoma treatment at the right time

Identifying the right sarcoma treatment at the right time

Recipient: Dr Emmy Fleuren
Institute: Children's Cancer Institute
Funding: $373,599 June 2021 to June 2024 (The Kids' Cancer Project: $186,799.50, The Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation: $186,799.50)

Phosphoproteomics may hold the key to developing better treatments for children with sarcoma.

Outcomes for young sarcoma patients haven’t changed dramatically in the past three decades. The toxicity of current standard-of-care is unacceptable. New, kinder, more effective treatments are urgently needed.

Phosphoproteomics is a specialised area of study into proteins that make up a cell and the process of adding phosphate molecules to these proteins to activate them (“phosphorylation”). Proteins are critical to maintain vital bodily functions. It has been observed that cancer cells use the phosphorylation process to grow faster. 

In preliminary studies, Dr Fleuren has proven phosphoproteomics can identify specific targets for therapy in sarcoma patients. This is exciting, because the activated targets are only present on the sarcoma cells - not on normal cells. Therefore, therapies directed against those targets will not only be more effective but will be less likely to cause damaging side effects.

Learn more: Help for kids with sarcoma

This funding will enable Dr Fleuren and her team to investigate these activated proteins of sarcoma in children taking part in the next phase of the Zero Childhood Cancer program, giving much needed hope to sarcoma patients at various stages of their disease (ranging from newly diagnosed to those with more advanced sarcoma). 

This project is collaboratively supported with the Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation