Tumor Research

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Osteosarcoma is the most frequent primary malignant bone tumour in children and adolescents with a high propensity for metastasis and therefore poor prognosis. Despite the significant clinical improvements made over the past decades through the combined chemotherapeutic and surgical treatment, patients with metastatic or recurrent disease continue to have a very poor prognosis, with a 5-year survival rate of 10-20%. Metastatic tumours are often refractory or only partially sensitive to current therapeutic strategies and are the primary cause of cancer-related mortality. It is clear that current treatment strategies including the combination of chemotherapy and surgery are unable to combat metastatic disease in patients with OS, and new avenues, e.g. prevention of metastasis, need to be explored to address this problem. The molecular mechanisms which lead to metastasis are yet poorly understood. Understanding these mechanisms will allow to identify drug targets and to rationally design corresponding drugs. Therefore, identification of key regulatory molecules involved in OS metastasis is crucial, not only for a basic understanding of the molecular and cellular processes involved, but also to devise novel targeted and rational therapeutic strategies.

The Laboratory for Orthopaedic Research aims at improving the treatment of Osteosarcoma patients by Translational Research from bedside to the laboratory and back to bedside. In the long run, we hope to be able to identify osteosarcoma patients with an increased risk of developing metastasis and to recognize patients who can expect a substantial benefit from targeted drug therapy which interferes with the metastatic cascade. Corresponding therapeutic interventions that prevent metastasis are expected to improve the survival of these patients.

Prof. Bruno Fuchs, Head of the Laboratory for Orthopaedic Research is founding member of the Sarcoma Board Zurich. This group has the goal to treat sarcoma patients in a concerted effort involving all necessary sub-specialities to offer optimal treatment to obtain the maximal outcome.