One in three children with soft tissue sarcoma die from their disease.
Surgery, chemotherapy, and occasionally, radiotherapy comprise the standard treatment approach with minimal improvement in survival rates over the past few decades. In fact, relapses frequently occur even after extensive treatment, particularly at the site of the original tumour.
Behind the science: Dr Joost Lesterhuis
Dr Lesterhuis will explore an entirely novel approach that aims to locally deliver, already proven, active immunotherapy to the tumour site, using a biodegradable hydrogel applied during surgery.
Following surgery, the material would release the drugs, attracting and activating immune cells to identify and eradicate any remaining cancer cells.
At completion of this project, Dr Lesterhuis is confident he will have the necessary data to take this technology to the bedside in clinical trials to benefit patients and improve survival.
This project received further support through Cancer Australia's Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme.