Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Utah News

Huntsman Cancer Institute Working On Possible Treatment for Childhood Cancer

Researchers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute have discovered a possible new treatment for a rare childhood cancer. Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah, Dr. Stephen Lessnick, says the drug has a high likelihood of treating Ewing sarcoma, a deadly cancer found in children and young adults.

"It’s usually a bone associated tumor and the current treatments for Ewing sarcoma involve really intensive chemo therapy, which are drugs to poison the tumor, along with either surgery or radiation therapy. And even with this really intensive treatment we are really only able to treat half of the kids with Ewing Sarcoma."

Lessnick says his lab joined forces with another lab inside the Huntsman Cancer Institute to learn about the proteins that make up Ewing Sarcoma. From there, researchers were able to develop a treatment that would target specific genes that cause the cancer.

"The way that this works is it’s very different from standard chemo therapies. Standard chemo therapies are basically poison; they poison the cell and cancer cells get poisoned a little more than normal cells in the body. Well, this works by changing the expression of genes in the cell."

Researchers are continuing to do model tests and are hoping to begin patient testing within the next couple of years.