July is the month dedicated to the awareness of sarcoma, a term used for a broad group of cancers that begin in the bones and in the soft tissues. The EORTC Soft Tissue & Bone Sarcoma Group (STBSG) conducts international clinical trials and other research projects to innovate multidisciplinary treatment strategies for patients with sarcoma that can improve survival and quality of life. Members collaborate closely and across borders to conduct the breakthrough research that is needed for this heterogeneous group of rare and ultra-rare cancers. In 2021, the EORTC counted 13 clinical trials in sarcoma alone.
STRASS II is the first official international academic clinical trial looking into the potential benefits of chemotherapy before surgery to improve disease control and survival in patients with retroperitoneal sarcoma. We reached out to Gauthier Bouche, MD, MPH, Director of Clinical Research at the Anticancer Fund, who explained the importance of supporting rare cancers and the collaboration with the EORTC.
ECRF: Rare cancers are one of ACF’s focus areas. Can you explain why it is important for your organisation to support international academic clinical trials in rare cancers?
Gauthier Bouche: The Anticancer Fund supports clinical research where it’s the most needed. Since all sarcomas are rare and many affect children or young adults, the needs are immense, and few sarcoma trials can be conducted at national levels. Most trials aiming to know whether treatment X works have to run internationally. Since we are one of the few cancer charities whose funding is not geographically restricted, our support to international trials can make a huge difference. Who else will fund these trials otherwise?
ECRF: STRASS II is the first clinical trial collaboration with EORTC, can you describe the importance of this trial from ACF’s perspective?
Gauthier Bouche: The Anticancer Fund and the EORTC have known each other for years. We needed that time to identify areas of common interest. Here, the (STRASS II) trial aims to improve the survival of sarcoma patients by using existing therapies ahead of surgery. This is a simple question with no commercial gain for anyone, hence the need for (our) philanthropic funding. If results are positive, the impact will be large and immediately global. The Anticancer Fund & the EORTC paths crossed on this occasion and we’re really happy to have such a reputable EORTC trial in our trial portfolio. Of note, our paths crossed again one year later with the OligoRare trial, meaning the collaboration goes on!
Follow the STRASS 2 clinical trial developments:
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