The Sarcoma Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering has a number of critical resources available that facilitate innovation in this vital field of research.
One of the resources available to the Sarcoma Center is a database of soft tissue sarcoma cases. The database was developed in 1982 by Sir Murray Brennan, now Senior Vice President of International Programs at MSK. This resource contains clinical, pathologic, and outcomes data for more than 13,400 people treated for soft tissue sarcoma at MSK over a 38-year period.
The sarcoma database has enabled the development of prognostic factors for patient outcomes and of nomograms that predict the risk of recurrence and the likelihood of surviving for individual sarcoma patients. This resource is essential for the development of clinical trials in specific subgroups of sarcoma patients and for understanding the long-term natural history of the disease. Importantly, the data are collected prospectively, with history, staging, and pathologic features reviewed at the time of admission and treatment.
Another resource, a bank that contains soft tissue sarcoma tissues, cell lines, and mouse models, was established by physician-scientist Samuel Singer in 2002. This resource collects rapidly frozen sarcoma tissue and blood samples. The tissues can be used for multiplatform genetic and epigenetic analysis across diverse sarcoma histologic types. Additional fresh sarcoma tissue is used to establish primary sarcoma cell lines and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models.
These sarcoma cell lines and PDX models are used by Sarcoma Center investigators to test the efficacy of new drugs and drug combinations. This extensive sarcoma tissue bank and collection of primary sarcoma cell lines and PDX models of human sarcoma have been linked to an extensive multiplatform molecular, genetic, and epigenetic dataset as well as the clinical soft tissue sarcoma database, which has allowed our researchers to identify molecular biomarkers of outcome and treatment response.
Insights from these datasets are helping to uncover genetic and epigenetic vulnerabilities in sarcoma. They also help researchers identify drug targets for preclinical and clinical evaluation. The results of these studies will significantly improve our ability to design new targeted therapies for cancer and predict a patient’s response to these treatment strategies. Ultimately, this progress will also help investigators design clinical trials serving both adult and pediatric patients with sarcoma.
The Sarcoma Center has received financial support for its research from a number of sources, including a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Institutes of Health. Our researchers are also funded by philanthropic donations from Cycle for Survival and the Kristen Ann Carr Fund.