Sarcoma Research

The Sarah-Grace Sarcoma Foundation is funding ground-breaking research on mode of metastases (spread) for sarcoma at the ANU, John Curtin School of Medical Research by Professor Chris Parish and Dr. Lucy Coupland’s research group. This research commenced in October 2011.Dr. Lucy Coupland

The peculiar thing about sarcomas is that, although there are more than 50 different subtypes, making it difficult to have effective chemotherapeutic agents, they have one thing in common. They all tend to metastasise (spread) to the lungs at a very early stage, using platelets as a vector, hence the dismal prognosis.

The mode of metastasis has about 10 potential therapeutic sites, which the group has identified and will be researching further with the prospect ground breaking new therapies, the first research of this nature in the world, funded by the Sarah-Grace Sarcoma Foundation.

Sarcomas can arise anywhere and are frequently hidden deep in the limbs (which is where majority of the body’s connective tissue is), with the tendency to present late due to vague symptoms. Sarcomas account for 15-20% of childhood cancer diagnoses and about 1% of adult cancer diagnoses.

Sarcomas contribute disproportionately to cancer burden in our community, as they mostly affect the young. They are also the most aggressive primary cancers with an overall 50 per cent mortality or survival rate at five years.

However, treatment has not progressed over more than the last decade due to a lack of high level research. Sarcomas are not only forgotten cancers, but still not well understood. Since they are not well understood, they tend to be misdiagnosed and therefore present late as they are uncommon in general practice. There are many benign diseases that may have similar symptoms.

  • Why Support Sarcoma Research?

    Sarcoma are rare by the prolific standards of the most common cancers including breast and prostate and hence have trouble attracting research funding from governments to find a cure with such small patient numbers.

    Furthermore, research published in the United States shows a highly, statistically significant correlation between conducting research and survival; in other words, research impacts directly upon survival.

    Research from the MD Anderson Cancer Centre (Prof Kim et al); demonstrate that the more research dollars invested in cancer, the better the patients’ five year survival.

    Breast Cancer

    $27,000 Research Dollars /Death

    • (90%) 5 Year Survival Rate
    Prostate Cancer

    $14,000 Research Dollars /Death

    • (99%) 5 Year Survival Rate
    Colon Cancer

    $6,500 Research Dollars /Death

    • (99%) 5 Year Survival Rate
    Breast Cancer

    $1,200 (Cost of Laptop) Research Dollars /Death

    • (15%) 5 Year Survival Rate

    Due to a multitude of campaigns and patient support groups, HIV received $203, 029 dollars per patient death, with HIV patients now having a life span similar to the general population. Indeed money (research) does buy life!

    Research into any sarcoma will benefit all sarcoma patients as there are significant similarities between all types of sarcomas.

  • Why We Need Your Support For Sarcoma Research?

    Sarcoma does not receive adequate funding for research, and community support is the only way we can ensure research continuity. Help us make a difference by contributing towards this ground breaking research.

    Some tangible numbers from John Curtin School of Medical Research which you can support:

    With – $1000 you can purchase a sarcoma cell line for our research

    With – $500 you can buy antibodies to enable the study of platelets and immune cells in metastasis (per 1 mL equal 20 doses)

    With – $280 you can conduct 1 metastasis experiment

    With – $30 you can grow sarcoma cells for 1 week prior to experiment

    With – $5.40 you can feed our mice (accommodation, food and water -per 5 mice/week)

    To see more or ask questions about sarcoma research, please visit the following pages:

    Ask the researcher
    John Curtin School of Medical Research
    View our calendar events
    Support Our Research
    Become a Kick Sarcoma volunteer