JAN 18, 2018 7:57 AM PST

Treatment of a Childhood Cancer: An Overview

WRITTEN BY: Courtney Schaal

Ewing sarcoma is an aggressive cancer of the bone and soft tissue occurring primarily in adolescents and young adults, although not exclusively. Over the years, doctors treating Ewing sarcoma patients have increased survival rates through the use of intense chemotherapy cocktails and surgical resection for localized tumors; however, there is still a bleak and dismal outcome for patients with metastatic disease. Additionally, there are undesirable and noteworthy toxicities associated with chemotherapies used. In order to improve survival outcome and quality of life for these patients, the field demands development of better therapeutic options. We are beginning to understand the biological processes underlying this disease, which will undoubtedly help to move the field forward.

Ewing sarcoma is largely thought to originate from cancerous transformation of stem cells during development. Essentially, stem cells gone awry. This cancer is known to be driven by a chromosomal translocation resulting in a fusion protein that acts to turn on and off genes that normally would not be turned on or off. Targeting of this fusion protein itself in theory would provide an ideal means by which to combat the disease, but due to its lack of certain features it is difficult to target with small molecule compounds. Researchers have been attempting to target it, or its downstream and in some cases up stream effectors; however, large progresses are still elusive.

Recently, epigenetic deregulation has been implicated more and more in the progression of this disease and many labs working on Ewing sarcoma have begun to focus largely on being able to target this. LSD1, for example, is a lysine demethylase which acts to remove repressive marks off of silent genes allowing them to become activated and turn on, and it is found to be overexpressed in Ewing sarcoma. This has become a promising novel therapeutic target and intervention being investigated by academic labs in addition to large and small pharmaceutical companies, and its entering clinical trials. Additionally, there are academic labs conducting screens of epigenetic-targeting compound libraries to identify any which might be useful in combating Ewing sarcoma. So far HDAC inhibitors have been published as hits, and other novel compounds are under investigation. DNA methyltransferases also show promise for therapeutic benefit in this tumor type.

As knowledge expands into the biology of the disease, and as other therapeutics such as immunotherapies and RNA interference are being investigated in addition to epigenetic-focused therapies, the promise of new and improved treatment modalities to extend lifespan and improve quality of life is high. These efforts will hopefully favorably impact patient outcomes in the near future.

Sources: Critical Reviews in Oncology, Pixabay, Youtube, Summon Info Point

 

About the Author
You May Also Like
DEC 23, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 23, 2019
FDA Approves New Schizophrenic Drug
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an atypical antipsychotic Caplyta (lumateperone; Intra-Cellular Therapies) for the treating schizoph...
JAN 17, 2020
Cancer
JAN 17, 2020
Could salt nanoparticles kill cancer?
Could salt be the key to killing cancer cells? A new study published in Advanced Materials reports success in using sodium chloride to destroy cancer cells...
JAN 15, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 15, 2020
Treating Malaria: Molecular Understanding of Drug Interactions
Crystallization is a process central to drug development that despite centuries of facilitating a particular method, chemists are still learning how to gra...
JAN 21, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 21, 2020
Medical Marijuana Ineffective for Long Term Pain Management
Medicinal cannabis may not as effective as once thought as a solution for sleep problems for those with chronic pain in the long run, according to new find...
FEB 06, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 06, 2020
China Begins Trials for Antiviral Drug to Tackle Coronavirus
So far, coronavirus has infected over 31,493 people globally, and has killed 638. Although 1,563 people have reportedly recovered, due to its fast-spreadin...
FEB 21, 2020
Health & Medicine
FEB 21, 2020
Frequent Cannabis Use Could Affect Driving Safety
A new study suggests that heavy marijuana users have the potential to be dangerous drivers. However, hazardous driving appears to be isolated to users who ...
Loading Comments...