Monday, June 16, 2014

Chondrosarcoma trial opens nationwide

By Suzie Siegel

An exciting trial for patients with chondrosarcoma is opening at hospitals across the country.

Dr. Jon Trent
"This trial is very important to me as a sarcoma medical oncologist because I see patients with chondrosarcoma for which there are no treatment options," said Jon Trent, MD, PhD, director of the Sarcoma Medical Oncology Research Program at the University of Miami's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. "I pray every day that this new therapy is as effective as imatinib is in GIST or CML."

Imatinib, a k a Gleevec, is a landmark in the targeted treatment of sarcoma, helping keep people with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) alive for years. It was originally developed for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Sarcoma researchers are looking at drugs used to treat leukemia because both cancers arise from mesenchymal cells. At the annual meeting of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society last fall, physicians joked that “leukemia is just sarcoma of the blood.”

Miriam Zimms in therapy.
"Since chondrosarcoma doesn't respond to chemotherapy and rarely radiation, trials like these are important for patients dealing with local recurrence or metastasis. It also gives those of us who are cancer-free a sense of security to know drugs are being tested," said Miriam Zimms of Tampa, who has survived both triple-negative breast cancer and chondrosarcoma in her left pelvis. "I'm the Bionic Guatemalan since I've had my breasts, ovaries/tubes and left pelvis amputated and rebuilt."

Agios Pharmaceuticals is sponsoring the new trial, called the "Study of Orally Administered AG-120 in Subjects With Advanced Solid Tumors, Including Glioma, With an IDH1 Mutation."

"Our bone sarcoma pathologist, Andrew Rosenberg, was part of a team who recently identified IDH mutation in 70 percent of patients with conventional and dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma," Dr. Trent said. "I found a pharmaceutical company manufacturing an IDH-1 inhibitor for leukemia. I presented the data on IDH-1 mutation in chondrosarcoma, and we have reached an agreement to do a Phase I clinical trial for patients with IDH-1 mutant chondrosarcoma.

"If effective, this drug will bind to the mutant IDH-1 and turn it off, just like turning off a light switch. This would result in the cancer cells turning back into normal cells. I think this stands a very good chance at helping a lot of people affected by chondrosarcoma.

"I am happy to see any patient with chondrosarcoma at our Sarcoma Center. The patient's tumor must have an IDH-1 mutation, which we test for routinely at our institution."

Read the details of the clinical trial here to see if you may be eligible. Patients can call (305) 243-1287 or (305) 243-1000 for an appointment with Dr. Trent.