Manchester leads research into relapsed Ewing sarcoma

Press release posted 3 July 2019

This week (1 to 7 July 2019) is Sarcoma awareness week and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester are leading on global research to improve survival chances for patients with relapsed Ewing sarcoma. 

Relapsed Ewing sarcoma is very rare with only three cases in the North West region a year. Although there is a 60% survival rate after five years from Ewing’s sarcoma, if it returns the survival rate after five years drops to just 15%. 

An international study involving over 300 patients across 134 sites in 15 countries is looking into which combination of chemotherapy drugs are most effective. The Christie currently has six patients on the clinical trial and is looking to recruit more. The NIHR Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Birmingham is sponsoring the study and the trial is supported with EU funding. 

Ewing sarcoma most commonly affects teenagers and young adults with the pelvis, thigh bone and shin bone being the most commonly-affected areas.

 

Dr Martin McCabe, honorary consultant at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust who is leading the international trial said: “There is still little known about what combination of treatments work best for relapsed Ewing sarcoma. We started this work in December 2014 and it’s difficult to recruit patients as the cases are so rare. However, we now have enough patients in the trial that we can start to reach conclusions. The trial is continuing to recruit across Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Our intention is to increase the number of patients on the trial so that we can define a standard of care for this condition, and test new treatments to see if they improve survival either given alone or with the standard chemotherapy.”

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.