The Friends of Rosie Children’s Cancer Research Fund announce our second research grant award of 2017. The one-year grant of £68,000 will fund a new project to research the treatment and improved detection of osteosarcoma – a rare type of bone cancer that most commonly affects children and young people. The project will be undertaken in the research facilities at The University of Manchester.
Our trustees selected the research proposal, submitted by Dr Katherine Finegan, lecturer in cancer biology and therapy at The University of Manchester, due to its potential to help in the development of novel, targeted therapies to treat metastatic osteosarcoma.
Osteosarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer that usually develops in growing bones. It’s therefore most common in children and adolescents. Surgery and chemotherapy are effective treatments for those patients whose cancer hasn’t yet spread. However, if the osteosarcoma spreads to other parts of the body, called metastasising, fewer than 30% of patients survive five years after diagnosis, a survival rate that has remained virtually unaltered over the last 30 years.
Says Dr Finegan, “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this much-needed funding from Friends of Rosie. There is an urgent requirement to develop novel therapies that target metastatic osteosarcoma. In addition, better detection is pivotal to improving outcomes for children and young people with this form of cancer. If successful, the data obtained during this research could help to greatly improve the detection and treatment of patients with osteosarcoma in the future.”
Dr Finegan and her team will research the role of a protein called, ERK5, which is believed to advance the spread of tumours. The project will aim to validate the use of ERK5 inhibitors in the treatment of the metastatic spread of osteosarcoma, whilst simultaneously developing novel molecular-imaging based methods to detect the progression of the disease.
Lisa Larkin, Trustee of Friends of Rosie, says, “The overwhelming kindness and generosity of our supporters has enabled us to make our second grant award of this year, and we are only in February! Our whole purpose as a charity is to fund vital research to improve the diagnosis, treatment and outlook for children with cancer. People are often surprised that there still can be such poor survival rates in some childhood cancers. We look forward to supporting Dr Finegan and her team over the coming 12 months to help make a positive difference to outcomes for these children in the future.”