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Fighting Cancer Through the Study of Sarcomas

Although rare, cancers of the muscle, bone or fat carry the same molecular errors as other tumors, making them ideal subjects for the discovery of new therapies

Igor Matushansky, Robert Maki

Figure 6. Many translocations that lead to cancer...Click to Enlarge ImageAlthough sarcomas make up less than one percent of all cancers, these diverse tumors of bone, fat or muscle arise from many of the same biological errors as do more common malignancies. Thus sarcomas are useful subjects for scientists to study in their quest to understand how many different cancers begin and spread and how they can be stopped. Matushansky and Maki explain some of the genetic mistakes that cause certain cells to divide uncontrollably, and they go on to show how this knowledge has sped the development and, in some cases, approval of targeted therapies. Recent successes suggest that for at least one type of cancer, such drugs provide the first treatments for a previously implacable disease.

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