SAR-GEN, a prospective multicentre study for the analysis of the genomic profile of patients affected by sarcomas
TURIN, 30 March 2017 – During his participation at the press conference for the presentation of the SAR-GEN Project, a prospective multicentre study for the analysis of the genomic profile of patients affected by sarcoma, realized thanks to funding from the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Umberto Veronesi Foundation, the President of ACC and HuGeF, Ruggero De Maria, explained that “the primary aim of the cooperation between ACC and the HuGef Foundation is to transfer state-of-the-art genome technology to clinical practice. Sarcomas present a particular challenge to precision medicine: these cancers are rare and difficult to cure. To defeat them it is necessary to combine the most powerful biotechnologies with great organizational skills.”
The Compagnia di San Paolo and the Umberto Veronesi Foundation “comprehended the huge potential of the synergies arising from the cooperation between the Turin Hospitals and Universities and the ACC network, that comprises the Italian Sarcoma Group, the biggest clinical research organization for sarcomas in Europe.” “This programme- concluded Professor De Maria–will bring precision medicine into the study of sarcomas and will enable patients affected by such rare cancers, resistant to current therapies, to be cured with personalized and more effective treatments.”
The SAR-GEN Project – The study aims at opening new diagnostic and therapeutic perspectives for patients affected by bone or soft tissue sarcomas thanks to a highly innovative approach such as that of precision medicine. Through the analysis of the genomic profile of each individual tumour, it will be possible to actually develop personalized therapeutic strategies for each individual affected by the illness.
Sarcomas– are tumours that, despite being rare, present a crucial challenge for modern oncology. They are divided into two main groups, bone sarcomas and soft tissue sarcomas, and they mostly affect children, young adults and the over 60’s. Despite progress having been made, the illness is still difficult to treat and the possibility of recovery is still in many cases limited by the presence of metastases or cancers that do not respond to treatment or by recurrence. For bone sarcoma, that accounts for 5% of all tumours diagnosed in patients between 0 and 20 years of age, the survival rate, although three times as much compared to twenty years ago, still remains at 60%.
What is the Project about – When a sarcoma is diagnosed or a recurrence is detected, a comparative analysis is carried out between the DNA from the cancerous tissue and that of the healthy tissue of the same patient. Meanwhile the potential use of specific drugs that target specific molecular alterations is evaluated, so that treatments are designed around the patient’s genetic profile.
What are the aims – To collect and analyse genetic profiles will enable us to make significant progress in the study of this type of tumour, to better understand the carcinogenesis and to identify new molecular targets for intelligent drugs. A similar approach in personalized medicine will help to single out the truly effective treatments for patients affected by sarcoma in Italy, thus maximising the opportunity of recovery and limiting the late effects of therapies.
How did it come about – The SAR-GEN project came about as a result of the cooperation between FIEOP, AIEOP, ISG, HuGeF, the Paediatric Onco-haematology Unit of the A.O.U. Città della Salute e della Scienza of Turin, the Clinic of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Department for Children’s and Women’s Health of the University of Padua, the Laboratory of Experimental Oncology of the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute of Bologna and Alleanza Contro il Cancro (ACC), an association established by the Italian Ministry of Health that coordinates 21 high standard institutes for comprehensive cancer patient care and research (IRCCS) and which is supported by the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Umberto Veronesi Foundation.