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Research Focus: Using digital technology to improve our understanding of rhabdomyosarcoma

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children and young people.

Project title: Deep learning: An integrated approach to define clinical significance to components of the tumour microenvironment of rhabdomyosarcomas

Lead investigator: Dr Yinyin Yuan, The Institute of Cancer Research
Funded by the Little Princess Trust in partnership with CCLG
Awarded January 2019

Award: £98,292.50

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children and young people. Although the majority of RMS patients have a good response to current treatments, they can still suffer from quite severe side-effects. Regrettably, there is another form of RMS known as fusion-positive alveolar RMS, for which patient survival rates are very poor. Together this underlines the need for development of new potent and specific drugs to improve the standard of care for RMS patients.

We are currently assessing drugs which inhibit a protein known as PRMT5 for therapy of neuroblastoma, another childhood cancer with poor prognosis. We believe that this protein is also involved in RMS and have previously shown that drugs inhibiting PRMT5 are efficient in suppressing the growth and killing RMS cells. This project will further establish PRMT5 inhibition as an effective alternative/addition to current therapies.

In summary, we believe that our studies have the potential to translate to real therapeutic value for rhabdomyosarcoma patients in the near future.

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The MBE for volunteer groups, awarded to The Little Princess Trust by Her Majesty The Queen.