SPOTLIGHT ON RARE CANCERS FOR RARE DISEASE DAY

29 February was Rare Disease Day, here’s some news on the research into some lesser known types of cancer.

Ewing’s Sarcoma

Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer that is mainly found in teenagers and young adults. This is unusual, seeing that cancer is a disease that predominantly affects older people. If caught early, 70% of patients diagnosed with the disease have a life expectancy of at least 5 years conversely around 30% of patients die within 5 years of diagnosis.

Dr Maria Paola Paronetto from Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome, is investigating this disease, and had this to say: “I work on the rare cancer Ewing’s sarcoma because it is a cruel tumour, which nestles into bone and soft tissue of children.  We need a better solution than amputation and multidrug chemotherapy.  If successful, I hope my research will help affected children have a greater chance of a normal life.”

Oncocytomas

An oncocytoma is a tumour made up of oncocytes which are, epithelial cells characterized by an excessive amount of mitochondria; oncocytomas can develop in a number of organs.

Dr Giuseppe Gasparre from the University of Bologna in Italy is researching this disease and had the following to say: “In some families, the accumulation of DNA mutations in the powerplants (mitochondria) in tumors is a recurrent event, happening in parents, children and grandchildren etc.  These mutations lead to so-called ‘oncocytic tumors’, which are generally benign (non-cancerous) but can be precancerous or indeed cancerous.”

He elaborated further as follows: “If we understand how these oncocytic tumour cells enter the slow growing sleep-like state it could be exploited with the use of drugs to make other, more dangerous cancer cells do the same.”

For more information on this, please go to: http://www.worldwidecancerresearch.org/cancer-research-news/2016/spotlight-on-rare-cancers-for-rare-disease-day

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