Our program is led by two of the world’s experts in sarcoma, Patrick Leavey, M.D., and Stephen X. Skapek, M.D. Dr. Leavey has been program director since 1998. He is currently the co-chair for the international AEWS1031 Phase III study for newly diagnosed patients with non-metastatic Ewing sarcoma at the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). Opened in 2010, it is the largest Ewing sarcoma study in the world. Dr. Skapek is medical director of the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Medical Center and is a nationally recognized laboratory investigator and scientist in pediatric tumors. He is currently vice-Chair of the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee at COG.
To fully leverage the strength of UT Southwestern’s scientific capabilities, Drs. Leavey and Skapek are partnering with nationally recognized rare tumor scientist James Amatruda, M.D., Ph.D., on a study with the goal of “personalized” therapy for sarcoma patients. With tumor specimens from patients across Texas, Dr. Amatruda and his UT Southwestern team are using mice, flies and zebrafish models to study the genetic composition of sarcoma.
The goal is to create a method of accurately identifying actionable genetic mutations that drive sarcoma growth. With this information, physicians would be able to select drugs most likely to work in each individual – the power of personalized medicine. This pioneering research is funded by several grants, including one from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.