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Rutledge Cancer Foundation’s Research Team Awarded a two-year NIH Grant

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The National Institute of Health in a combined effort with the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has awarded a grant to a collaborative project led by Rutledge Cancer Foundation of Fort Worth which aims to develop novel treatments for Ewing sarcoma with minimal side effects, especially cardiovascular.

The award supports an ongoing effort initiated by the Rutledge Cancer Foundation in collaboration with Qana Therapeutics (Austin), Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (San Antonio), Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) and UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

Co-principal investigators are Gregory Aune, MD, Ph.D., of UT Health/ Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute, and Jason Yustein, MD, Ph.D., of the Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center at the Baylor College of Medicine.

The team will utilize novel nanoparticle technology funded by Rutledge Cancer Foundation and developed by Qana Therapeutics and Dr. Andras Lacko of UNT Health Science Center, to selectively deliver novel cytotoxic chemotherapies directly to Ewing sarcoma tumors with high expression of SR-B1, which is a receptor or protein that is located on the surface of the tumor cell.

More importantly, preliminary studies in the lab have shown little to no cardiac toxicity in young mice, Rutledge Cancer Foundation said in a news release.

During the two-year grant, the team hopes to generate critical data needed for early phase patient clinical trials. Additionally, the plan is to further develop this approach utilizing next generation therapies, such as small molecules and nucleic acids, to treat sarcomas and other solid tumor cancers more effectively with less toxicity.

Ewing sarcoma’s 40-year-old chemotherapy regimen remains a significant contributor to mortality and long-term cardiovascular complications in adolescent and young adult cancer patients, the announcement said.

The goal of this project is to bring less toxic, more curative cancer treatments to pediatric and young adult patients.

The mission of the Rutledge Cancer Foundation is to ease the impact of cancer on the lives of teens and young adults, raise survival rates, and find a cure for sarcomas and other solid tumor cancers.

By bringing together doctors, researchers, patients, caregivers and the community, RCF has funded more than $1,880,500 to support care, awareness and research for less toxic, more curative cancer treatments for more than 1,000,000 teens and young adults battling cancer in the United States.

Community partners include UT Southwestern-Moncrief Cancer Institute, the UNT Health Science Center and Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute, Qana Therapeutics in Austin, Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute in San Antonio and Baylor College of Medicine  in Houston.

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