Our Research Advisory Team seeks out promising research and new drug development for pediatric sarcomas that are moving toward FDA approval and clinical trials. Our guidelines for selecting projects are (1) it must be less toxic and personalized, (2) it must target the cancer cells, keeping healthy tissue and organs safe from damage (3) enhance and harness the immune system to teach our bodies how to fight the cancer.
RCF Brings Together Top Notch Researchers and Biotech Industry for Groundbreaking Sarcoma Drug Development
In 2015, Executive Director, Laura Rutledge, was introduced to a promising lipid nanoparticle that could be utilized as a potential drug delivery that targets cancer cell. RCF sponsored research to develop novel drugs to be carried by the nanoparticle to target Ewing sarcoma. Dr. Andras Lacko, at University of North Texas Health Science Center, conducted the early stage research. Laura then introduced a colleague, Jim Graham, CEO of Qana Therapeutics, who is experienced in moving new therapies into clinical trials and FDA approval to further advance the work.
RCF also brought some of the brightest pediatric researchers together to move this project forward. Dr. Jason Yustein MD, PhD, formally head of the Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Yustein is now Director of Research for the Solid Tumor Team at the AFLAC Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Also on the team is Greg Aune, MD PhD at UT Health, Greehey Pediatric Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Aune focuses on the long term toxicity (especially the heart) of the currently used chemotherapies and radiation.
The team has proven that the nanoparticle delivery is targeted to cancer cells that have SRB1 receptors, a common marker in many cancer cells. Once the pre-clinical work with the novel drug and nanoparticle shows efficacy and less toxicity, the plan is to move it into patient clinical trials.
Qana Therapeutics Opens lab in Austin
With the help of RCF funding, Qana Therapeutics has opened a lab in Austin at the ACC Bioscience Incubator(ABI). Additionally, Qana has hired a full-time Senior Scientist, Dr. Christian Boada, to develop and optimize multiple drugs in combination with the nanoparticle, to treat cancer with a targeted and personalized approach, with far less toxicity. Qana is currently developing a novel anthracyline.
“This grant from RCF has allowed us to accelerate our efforts to develop better treatments for patients with sarcomas and other solid tumor cancers,” replied Jim Graham, co-founder and CEO of Qana Therapeutics.
Cleveland Clinic begins landmark work to develop a Ewing sarcoma vaccine
RCF, in collaboration with two other foundations, Little Warrior and William J. Riley Foundation, have awarded a grant to develop an mRNA vaccine for Ewing sarcoma. This landmark effort is driven by Dr. Timothy Chan, head of the Cleveland Clinic Immunology Department. Dr. Chan has identified a number of Ewing antigens that are highly sensitive to immunotherapy. He will use these findings to develop a vaccine that can identify Ewing cancer cells and boost the immune system to eradicate them. Other potential therapies such as CarT cell therapy are also being considered.
OUR RESEARCH PARTNERS
We Fund Clinical Trials
WHAT IS A CLINICAL TRIAL?
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. These studies also may show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of people. Clinical trials produce the best data available for healthcare decision-making.
For some patients, clinical research trials represent an avenue for receiving promising new therapies that would not otherwise be available. Patients with difficult to treat or currently “incurable” diseases, such as AIDS or certain types of cancer, may want to pursue participation in clinical research trials if standard therapies are not effective. Clinical research trials are sometimes lifesaving.
We fund clinical trials that show promise for new sarcoma treatments. Orphan cancers like pediatric sarcomas don’t require the larger population of patients and can achieve “Orphan Drug” status with the FDA which will help streamline the arduous efficacy and safety studies that are required.
Our mission is to support and develop targeted and immune-based therapies that are curative and less toxic than the decades old chemotherapies and radiation treatments. Our goal is to find a cure for Ewing sarcoma, other sarcomas and solid tumor cancers.
Cleveland Clinic – Immunology Department
Cook Children’s – Solid Tumor Program
Dana Farber/Boston Children’s – Ewing Sarcoma Clinical Trial
Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center – Vigil Vaccine Trial
In eleven years, Rutledge Cancer Foundation has donated $1,400,000 for immune-based, targeted pediatric sarcoma research and clinical trials. It is important to note that every therapy and project that we support could eventually be useful in treating other cancers. Projects that we have supported include:
Animal studies demonstrating the safety and efficacy of Myr5A.AD198 in mice bearing Ewing sarcoma (Qana Therapeutics, Austin, Texas, UTHSC San Antonio, Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute)
Stable formulations of Myr5A, AD198 Therapeutics (Qana Therapeutics, Austin, Texas)