Young Researchers supported by Peter Pan Charity, January 2018
Three young researchers received funding from the Peter Pan charity to attend and present at the EEC meeting in January 2018 in a session chaired by Professor Jeffrey Toretsky. They provided summaries of their presentation abstracts in plain English.
The CXCR4 antagonist plerixafor promotes proliferation of Ewing sarcoma cell lines in vitro and activates receptor tyrosine kinase signalling
Dr. med. Philipp Berning
" I would like to thank the organizers of the EURO EWING Consortium meeting and the Peter Pan Charity for the opportunity to attend and present at this excellent meeting. This conference provided new insights in ongoing clinical trials and research advances in Ewing Sarcoma. Currently, I am working as an intern in hematology and oncology at the University of Münster. That is why I found attending EEC conference very inspiring and informative. I very much appreciated the opportunity to present and to discuss our results on signalling pathways in Ewing Sarcoma cells in front of expert scientists and clinicians. I would like to express my gratitude to the Peter Pan Onlus charity for providing a travel grant enabling me to attend this enriching conference.
Isolation and characterisation of exosomes from primary Ewing’s sarcoma samples
Mariona Chicón Bosch
" Thanks to the Peter Pan Onlus charity that funded my travel expenses, I had the opportunity to attend the EURO EWING Consortium (EEC) meeting on the 17 and 18th of January 2018, at Friends House, London (UK). Members of the EEC meet twice a year in order to update the different participant centres on the ongoing projects and latest advances in Ewing’s sarcoma (ES) treatment. Therefore, being part of this 2-days EEC meeting was a unique opportunity to learn from the ongoing ES research and clinical trials, the newest advances in novel agents, or the future prospects of this disease’s treatment. It is important to mention that the audience was composed of scientists, clinicians, patient advocates and pharma representatives from around Europe, which lead to enthusiastic and engaging debate sessions. In addition, this year’s invited speaker was the recognized Professor Jeffrey Toretsky, who presented his experience in achieving the impossible: targeting of the ES fusion EWS-FLI1. It was a great honour to learn in first person from this unique testimonial on therapeutic targeting approaches in ES. As a young researcher awarded by the Peter Pan charity, I had the opportunity to present to the audience part of my research project (Title: Isolation and characterisation of exosomes from primary Ewing’s sarcoma samples) in a 10-minute oral presentation format. In it, I explained the importance of isolating and studying exosomes from patient-derived ES samples, and how I’ve been able to profile these vesicles. The discussion that emerged from the presentation provide good insights into the hypothesis I am pursuing, and valuable feedback that will help me in the future.
Profiling Ewing’s sarcoma patient-derived cancer stem-like cells to identify biomarkers of risk and potential targets for the design of novel treatment
Dr Elizabeth Roundhill
" Thank you to the Euro Ewing Consortium and Peter Pan Onlus charity for a travel bursary to attend the Euro Ewing Consortium Annual Meeting, 17-18th January 2018, and for the opportunity to present an update on our latest research identifying novel targets for the treatment of Ewing’s sarcoma. The conference unites a unique group of scientists, clinicians and patient advocates from throughout Europe with a common drive to improve the outcome for patients with Ewing’s sarcoma. The meeting was over 2 days consisting of workshops for the specific trial updates, invited presentations and more specific sessions with a clear focus on potential new agents and new innovative trial designs required to validate novel therapies in the clinic. In addition, the annual meeting provided members of each of the EuroEwing2012 clinical trial working packages an opportunity to update the consortium on the current progress of each area of the trial. I presented data describing characterisation of the cells thought to drive disease progression and resistance to therapeutics in Ewing’s Sarcoma, often referred to as a drug resistant cancer stem-like cell population. This provided me with the opportunity to discuss my research with experts in the field and also develop both existing and new collaborations. Importantly, I described the NGS profiling of primary Ewing’s sarcoma cells, collected as part of the UK based Ewing’s Genotype study, and as a result, we have made new links with centres outside the UK who are keen to provide additional tumour samples for the study. The invited speaker, Professor Jeff Toretsky gave an inspiring presentation, describing the initial identification of a cellular target within the Ewing’s sarcoma cell (EWSR1-Fli1), through the design and finally validation of the EWSR1-Fli1 inhibitor, Y-4-279, in clinical trials. Since Professor Toretsky has also employed NGS analysis of Ewing’s sarcoma samples in his studies, his questions and positive feedback regarding the NGS data described in my presentation has led to an exciting new collaboration. The emerging compounds highlighted in the “new agents” session, such as the single agents targeting angiogenesis and the PARP inhibitors used in combination with irinotecan were particularly interesting and the efficacy of many of the compounds is being assessed as part of Phase II clinical trials. However, this session did raise an important challenge as to whether therapies can be most effectively validated in paediatric and adult combination trials, as a strategy to move agents into the clinic as rapidly as possible and without delay.