Our research programme aims to bring together the best minds and the latest technologies in sarcoma research, to use data from the 100,000 Genomes Project to advance our understanding of sarcoma. Up to 500 of the genomes sequenced are from people with sarcoma, and over 1000 tissue samples have been collected in total.  

Our Genomic Research Programme Projects

In 2018, we awarded £250,000 to Professor Adrienne Flanagan at UCL Cancer Institute in London. This research project is a unique three-year study into the nature of sarcoma, which will examine and catalogue the breadth of variation in genetic mutations – a first for sarcoma.

And in 2019, we awarded our second grant to Professor Andrew Beggs at the University of Birmingham. This project will analyse the faults in single cells within tumours. They will also analyse gene activity and the proteins produced within cells in soft tissue sarcoma, and compare these with people without sarcoma. They plan to use this information to create a highly precise map of the mutations that are driving the development of sarcoma.  

2020 saw us award the third £250,000 grant under this programme to Dr Zoë Walters, based at the University of Southampton. Dr Walters and her team will take genomic data to identify specific genetic changes which cause dedifferentiated liposarcoma. They will then explore if these genetic changes can be successfully targeted with drugs, with the hope of identifying a new and better treatment for this sarcoma.

Why genomic research?

Through research like this we hope to learn more about the complex genetics underpinning sarcoma. Understanding more about the genome could tell us why sarcomas don’t respond well to immunotherapies that are usually effective in other forms of cancer. And deepening our insight into how differences in our genomes impact our response to treatments could also help doctors to put together personalised treatment plans tailored specifically to each patient using information from their genome. In time, we hope that genomic research will tell us more about the causes of sarcoma, and pave the way to improved treatment options and better outcomes for everyone with sarcoma.