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New potential combination therapy for sarcomas

Researchers of the Sarcoma group of the Oncobell programme at Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) have successfully tested a new combined therapy for the treatment of this rare, aggressive tumour type, which affects children and adults.

The results of the clinical trial, published in Targeted Oncology, represent a successful step in the translational research strategy led by Dr. Òscar Martínez-Tirado, head of the group, on the basic research side, and Dr. Xavier Garcia del Muro, on the clinical side.

The treatment tested combines two therapeutic strategies: gemcitabine, a conventional chemotherapy commonly used in the treatment of sarcomas, and sirolimus, a new generation immunosuppressive drug. 

"Gemcitabine offers a good degree of tolerance, which makes it a very good candidate for combination therapies," explains Dr. Xavier Garcia del Muro, lead author of the study.

In the study, carried out in eight Spanish hospitals and coordinated by ICO-IDIBELL, there were 28 participants.

After receiving the treatment, the rate of patients free of progression at 3 months - a parameter which is usually assessed in this type of studies - was 44%, which confirms the effectiveness of this new combined therapy. "We believe that the results are positive and that therefore the treatment deserves to be evaluated in subsequent studies," adds García del Muro.

"It is also worth noting the remarkable translational nature of the study, which goes from bench to bedside," says the researcher.

Initially, the research group of Dr. Martínez-Tirado assessed the effectiveness of the treatment in cell lines and a mouse animal model, obtaining very promising results.

The subsequent phase I clinical trial led them to determine the dosage and safety parameters of the combined treatment, which have been used in the new trial to test the effectiveness of the treatment in humans.

Researchers of the Oncobell program will continue working on new clinical trials to continue exploring this new therapeutic line in order to make it reach clinical practice as soon as possible.


Reference: Phase II Study of Gemcitabine Plus Sirolimus in Previously Treated Patients with Advanced Soft-Tissue Sarcoma: a Spanish Group for Research on Sarcomas (GEIS) Study



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