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NCI Funds Sarcoma Consortium with $11.5M for Translational Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration, or SARC, today announced it has received a five-year, $11.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to conduct translational research into sarcoma, a relatively rare cancer than can affect bones and soft connective tissues.

SARC will use the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant — one of just two in the country dedicated to sarcoma — to elucidate the biology of sarcoma and to develop new diagnostic tests and therapies for patients. Investigators will study the metastatic cascade and the genes and signaling pathways that control disease progression and spread, thereby providing insight into their cellular and molecular basis.

The goal is to identify vulnerable molecular points in specific sarcoma subtypes that could serve as the foundation for new therapies. Researchers will also focus on molecularly driven diagnostic methods that can improve early detection of primary and metastatic and recurrent sarcoma, SARC said.

A broad base of multi-disciplinary investigators will collaborate on the research, including researchers from the Harvard Cancer Center; NCI; the University of Michigan Cancer Center; and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Cancer Research and Biostatistics, and Columbia University will also participate.

SARC and the SARC SPORE members have the chance to collaborate with other SPORE projects in other tumor types and to share data and information that may be useful for sarcoma research and patient care. The SARC SPORE also includes a Developmental Projects Program to ensure continual renewal of "high quality endeavors" under SPORE, and a Career Development Program that will provide the incentive and structure required to bring new researchers into sarcoma multi-disciplinary translational research.

"As the largest and most productive sarcoma clinical research and correlative science group worldwide, enrolling more patients in sarcoma clinical trials than any other organization, SARC is uniquely positioned to lead this SPORE," McHenry Tichenor, SARC's chairman, said in a statement. "We believe this collaborative effort with leading research institutions will link insightful translational science with cutting-edge clinical trials to have a tremendous impact on sarcoma patient outcomes."

SARC is a not-for-profit consortium that supports research aimed at preventing, treating, and curing sarcoma.

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