On the 9 February 2023 we made the mission to visit The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) labs in Sutton, Surrey, and what a worthwhile trip it was! As you all know, Talan’s Trust – with your fantastic support – has been funding this urgently needed rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) work for a number of years. (RMS is the disease that Talan had).
The purpose of our trip was to find out how our donations have so far helped to push forward the research – carried our by the ICR’s amazing scientists. And to see how much closer we are to our vision of improving the treatment of young patients with sarcomas.
The current aims of the team of scientists, led by Professor Shipley, are to improve ways to identify those at high risk – sparing those with a lower-risk disease from especially harsh treatments. They are also looking to identify new treatment strategies for high-risk and relapsed patients.
Professor Shipley and her team updated us in their work in various areas, including:
Research to identify biological markers that can help to predict whether patients have lower or higher risk disease. As these markers can be tested for in patients, they are incredibly valuable clinically.
How they are creating and using cancer models in the laboratory. These are vital to understanding how cancer cells behave.
Developing new therapeutic strategies using these models – focusing on how mutations specific to high risk groups and relapsed patients can be selectively targeted.
Using models to better understand how cancer cells interact with healthy cells in a patient for their benefit and how these interactions can be interrupted.
The impact of hypoxia (oxygen levels in a tumour) in sarcoma and how understanding of this can lead to improved treatment strategies.
Seeing and hearing about the projects being carried out by the scientists, feeling their strength of resolve, gave us hope. We can’t wait to be able to update you again later in the year. Thank you for being part of making this important progress possible.