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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Establishes the David Liposarcoma Research Initiative


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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute announced that The Rossy Foundation has committed $10 million to establish the David Liposarcoma Research Initiative. The 5-year initiative will conduct groundbreaking research into liposarcoma at Dana-Farber and external collaborating partner institutions, with the aim of transforming the treatment of this rare, underfunded, and understudied disease.

George Demetri, MD

George Demetri, MD

This commitment from The Rossy Foundation will focus on collaborative research among various departments at Dana-Farber—including liposarcoma biology, biochemistry, immunology, metabolism, genomics, and epigenetics. By conducting research to improve fundamental understanding of the molecular mechanisms of this disease, the initiative may lead to new approaches to overcome treatment resistance, as well as new strategies for clinical research to improve the outcomes of patients with liposarcoma. The overall research initiative will be led by George Demetri, MD, Director of the Sarcoma Center, Senior Vice President for Experimental Therapeutics, and Quick Family Chair in Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber.

From Lab to Patient and Back

The initiative will start by bringing together the teams of 11 principal investigators from 4 institutions—Dana-Farber, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. These investigators will work together on an interconnected portfolio of projects that builds upon the cycle of discovery, validation, and clinical testing with correlative science to stimulate continuous discovery.

The initiative will also include engagement of a renowned panel comprising the international Scientific Advisory Board. The commitment also establishes the David Liposarcoma Research Initiative International Scientific Symposium in basic, translational, and clinical liposarcoma research. This symposium will enable the team to share results, guide the development of clinical trials in years 3 through 5, and spark new collaborations around the world.

The Sarcoma Center at -Dana-Farber sees more than 1,000 newly referred patients each year, including hundreds of patients with liposarcoma. Many patients partner with the Sarcoma Center to advance research by providing clinical data, banking tumor samples, and participating in clinical studies. The center’s tumor bank includes thousands of samples, which are shared for analysis across institutions.

Additionally, the Sarcoma Center has an extensive regulatory-compliant infrastructure and experience working with the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to design academic clinical trials under its own authority and in collaboration with biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry colleagues on an international scale. Over the past 2 decades, the Sarcoma Center’s work has been instrumental in changing the landscape of treatment for sarcomas, such as gastrointestinal stromal tumors and leiomyosarcoma—including FDA approval of 10 new sarcoma indications for novel drugs. 


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