Congratulations to Drs. Poul Sorensen and Gregg Morin, at BC Cancer, and Dr. Wei Li, at the University of Pittsburgh, for being awarded $500,000 USD from the Osteosarcoma Institute for their project titled “Harnessing the osteosarcoma surfaceome for immunotherapy targets to block metastatic capacity”
Summary: Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer of children, adolescents, and young adults. When osteosarcoma tumor cells spread to other parts of the body, known as metastasis, survival is drastically reduced from ~75% to ~25%. Since metastatic disease has remained largely incurable for decades, there is a critical need to identify new treatments for patients with metastatic osteosarcoma. Drs. Sorensen and Morin’s teams have characterized surface proteins expressed in osteosarcoma cells, identifying ~70 cell surface proteins specific to osteosarcoma. Two of these, TMEM119 and ROR2, are highly expressed in osteosarcoma but largely absent in normal tissues, and have been implicated in metastatic disease. They will characterize the functions of TMEM119 and ROR2 in osteosarcoma, and validate their immunotherapeutic potential. They will also use a high-throughput approach to identify which of the other 70 proteins are involved in osteosarcoma metastasis to identify additional IT opportunities. For the proteins shown to be involved in osteosarcoma metastasis, they will develop and characterize antibodies that bind those proteins, add toxic drugs to the antibodies, and test their efficacy for IT. This program aims to validate novel IT targets that could improve outcomes for patients with metastatic osteosarcoma.