Sarcoma research, like all cancer research, is on the cusp of significant breakthrough…We’re driven to do all that we can to find new therapies, and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with the Conquer Cancer Foundation to do so.
When Matthew Alsante signed on to serve as Executive Director of the Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA) 6 years ago, he had a visceral understanding of the importance of the organization’s work. Mr. Alsante had lost his father to lung cancer in 1999.
“Right up until the last day of his life, if there had been one more therapy available my dad would have tried it,” he remembered. “At the Sarcoma Foundation of America, we are passionate about bringing more effective treatment options to people with sarcoma. Our collaboration with the Conquer Cancer Foundation is an important element of our strategy.”
Investing in Clinical and Translational Research
The SFA was founded in 2000 by Mark Thornton, MD, PhD, Patricia Thornton, and John Brooks, MD. Since 2006, the SFA has collaborated with the Conquer Cancer Foundation to sponsor six Young Investigator Awards—the Foundation’s research grants for early-career physician scientists—as well as two Advanced Clinical Research Awards and a Career Development Award in order to support scientists focusing on sarcoma from their fellowships all the way until they are established faculty.
“We are committed to funding the very best research, and we deeply value the fact that the Conquer Cancer Foundation shares our commitment to excellence,” said Mr. Alsante. “Both organizations select grant recipients through a rigorous peer review process. By supporting the work of the Conquer Cancer Foundation, we are confident that we’re helping to focus some of the world’s sharpest teams on groundbreaking translational and clinical research.”
“We’re particularly excited about funding young investigators,” Mr. Alsante added. “There are so many areas that a young cancer researcher can choose to pursue, and it’s absolutely critical that we encourage and support young, bright physician-scientists who are interested in sarcoma and can contribute to the field for many years to come.”
Targeted Research May Yield Broad-based Opportunity
Sarcoma strikes only about 12,000 Americans annually, but there are upwards of 100 different subtypes of the disease, creating something of a needle-in-a-haystack scenario for researchers.
Because it is so rare, sarcoma represents a relatively small slice of the global cancer research enterprise. But significant progress has been made in recent years, and Mr. Alsante believes that further exploration may lead not only to new therapies for people with sarcoma, but also to broader applications for other types of cancer.
“We’ve come a long way toward understanding sarcoma,” he said. “Our hope is that, if we’re successful in targeting a specific genetic pathway to treat this specific type of cancer, we can also build on that knowledge to improve treatment for other, more common cancers.”
Cancer Research at a Tipping Point
About 15% of all children with cancer—and about 1% of all adults with cancer—have some form of sarcoma. The opportunity is great, and the need is urgent.
“We feel that sarcoma research, like all cancer research, is on the cusp of significant breakthrough,” said Mr. Alsante. “We can see it. We can taste it. But it’s still frustrating. It’s still too slow. We’re driven to do all that we can to find new therapies, and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with the Conquer Cancer Foundation to do so.”
“We believe that cancer research is at an exciting tipping point—a powerful nexus of opportunity for translating the dramatic discoveries of the past decade, in genomics and other areas, into new therapies,” said Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH, Executive Director of the Conquer Cancer Foundation. “There has never been a more strategically important time for investing in cancer research.”
“Our collaboration with the Sarcoma Foundation of America and with other organizations and individuals who share our commitment to conquering cancer through research and knowledge are a source of both strength and inspiration,” Ms. Daly continued. “Together, we will all realize the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s ultimate vision: creating a world that’s free from the fear of cancer.”
To learn more about the SFA, please visit www.curesarcoma.org. To learn more about the Conquer Cancer Foundation, visit www.conquercancerfoundation.org. ■
© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.
The Sarcoma Foundation of America has sponsored the following research projects—each selected through a rigorous peer-review process—in collaboration with the Conquer Cancer Foundation: