New and Innovative Study Technique for Osteosarcoma Metastasis

by | Oct 21, 2021 | Childhood Cancer, Rally Blog, Rally Researchers, Success Stories

Osteosarcoma (OS) is a type of cancer that begins in the cells that form bones, and mainly affects teenagers and young adults.

In metastatic osteosarcoma, the cancer spreads from the primary bone site to another location, most often the lungs. It can also spread to other bones, the brain or other organs.

Currently there are no curative treatments for metastatic osteosarcoma. We urgently need to develop new therapies.

To better understand a disease, it is common for tumor research studies to use orthotopic implantation. This method grafts tumor tissue where the disease begins in a mouse model.

For osteosarcoma studies that would be in a bone allowing researchers to examine cancer progression more accurately and identify potential drug combinations more reliably.

Rally-funded researcher Lindsay Jones Talbot, MD, is a pediatric surgeon, researcher, and instructor at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In 2020, Rally Foundation funded Dr. Talbot’s project, “Enhancing CAR T-cell Efficacy in OS by Driving Chemokine-Mediated Homing.” Dr. Talbot and her team believe immunotherapy with CAR T cells can meet this challenge and improve outcomes for patients.

One challenge for Dr. Talbot’s team has been the lack of preclinical models that resemble or imitate features of metastatic disease.

However, they recently discovered a way to emulate metastasis in their mice models as highlighted recently in Frontiers in Immunology.

They used bioluminescent gene, firefly luciferase, by viral transfer. This allows for the production of tumor cell lines that can be followed in a living organism over a period of time.

Using firefly luciferase, Dr. Talbot’s team implanted osteosarcoma cells into the tibia of mice. The mouse models developed orthotopic tumors and lung metastases. This allowed for post-surgical monitoring of metastasis and the efficacy of immunotherapy with CAR T cells.

In their study, the CAR T therapy showed strong antitumor activity and hindered the development of lung metastases resulting in a significant survival advantage.

Dr. Talbot’s team found this model may help predict the safety and efficacy of current and next-generation CAR T cell therapies and other treatment modalities for metastatic osteosarcoma.

Thanks to your generous support, Rally continues to fund and invest in researchers like Dr. Talbot whose research shows promise in finding better treatments and future cures for kids fighting cancer.

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