Physicians of the Zane Cohen Centre

Soft Tissue Sarcoma Research Program

What are Soft Tissue Sarcomas?

Sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that develops in connective tissues such as fat, muscle, blood vessels, bone and cartilage. There are over 50 different types of sarcoma and these tumour subtypes behave differently, thus compounding the challenge of successfully treating patients with these tumours.

Soft tissue sarcoma (STS) is a subset of sarcoma tumours that can arise from the gastrointestinal tract or other areas of the abdomen and trunk. Some common types of STS include:

  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumours (GIST)
  • Liposarcoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP)

Recommended websites to learn more about STS:

What is the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Research Program?

Current treatment of STS is limited primarily to surgical procedures (e.g., removing the tumour), with selective use of radiation therapy and conventional chemotherapy in some subtypes of the disease. Unfortunately, these treatment options are limited in their effectiveness and better understanding of STS to improve patient outcomes is needed. Our group has a variety of ongoing initiatives to understand STS and to help improve the lives of patients diagnosed with this type of cancer.

GI Sarcoma Database

Since STS is a rare cancer, most of the knowledge about the natural history of these tumours has been generated by following individual patient outcomes over time. Therefore, our team has built a database to house information on STS patients seen at Mount Sinai Hospital. This database is an essential tool for the STS team to better understand this challenging disease, thereby improving patient quality of life in the coming years.

Sarcoma Cell Line Biorepository

A significant challenge researchers face is the lack of laboratory models that can be used to study STS. Our program is building a “biorepository” of many STS subtypes with the aspiration of supplying researchers with quality in vitro models to examine the genetics of this cancer. These in vitro models will be a powerful tool to translate original laboratory research into better treatment options for STS patients.

Translational Research Laboratory

Our translational research group is fundamental to understanding the genetic and molecular events that are the driving force behind this type of cancer. We are actively investigating the underlying reasons as to why some STS subtypes can withstand current cancer chemotherapy treatments. If we can better understand why STS can evade current treatments we will be able to develop novel treatments to fight this terrible affliction.

Questions about STSRP?

For more information or to make a donation to STSRP, please contact:

Sally Burtenshaw

More info about the Sarcoma Program at Mount Sinai Hospital:

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