Exceptionally rare, sarcomas are diagnosed in less than 1,300 children and adolescents in the U.S. annually – roughly half with Ewing sarcoma or osteosarcoma and the remaining with soft tissue sarcomas (rhabdomyosarcoma and nonrhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcoma). The 35 to 40 children who enter the Gill Center’s Sarcoma Program each year receive care from national leaders in sarcoma treatment and research. 

Our Approach

An interdisciplinary team of specialists and subspecialists meets weekly to develop treatment plans for newly diagnosed patients, patients in relapse and patients whose care is at complex decision- making junctures. The team includes pediatric oncologists, orthopaedic oncology surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, a nurse practitioner, nurses, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and prosthetists from both UT Southwestern and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Individually and collectively, the team translates the latest sarcoma research into the best possible care for patients. 

Program Highlights

Program Highlights

  • Internationally recognized leaders in sarcoma research
  • Long-standing collaboration with the Prosthetics Department at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
  • Innovative use of CT PET scans to evaluate for metastatic disease, identifying targets for therapy 
  • Active enrollment of all newly diagnosed patients in clinical studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, the Children’s Oncology Group and UT Southwestern 
  • Active enrollment of newly diagnosed patients to CPRIT-sponsored study to develop molecularly driven personalized therapies in sarcoma  


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. 

Contact Cancer and Blood Disorders

Phone: 214-456-2978

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