Last update on: 04/09/2009
The tumour-specific mutations have a common characteristic with all cancer illnesses: an imbalance between the growth and death behaviour of cells, which first makes uncontrolled tumour growth possible. Molecular biology deals with this. Only the most extensive understanding of tumour biology possible will make way for new approaches in treating cancer.
When the St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute was founded in 1988, barely anything was known about the molecular causes of Ewing's Sarcoma, a malignant form of bone cancer, with which metastases are often formed. The diagnosis was correspondingly difficult.
- The characteristic changes in certain bone tumours that produce chimeric proteins represent another focus of the research. These tumour-specific gene products are potentially ideal approaches for focussed tumour-specific treatments as they exist only in the tumour cells. The studies are conducted together with other partners in the scope of a national and international network, also with the support of the Austrian Gen-AU programme www.gen-au.at/projekt.jsp?id=24 | www.gen-au.at/projekt.jsp?id=63
- The effect of such chimeric proteins is being examined in the EU project Prothets
Doz. Dr. Heinrich Kovar has specialised in researching important characteristics in genetic material of Ewing's Sarcoma. Thus, a potential approach could be identified with Ewing's Sarcoma in order to put an end to the uncontrolled cell growth. It was possible to characterise the protein, which is decisive for the tumour growth. The tumour-specific changes (e.g. the merging of two genes into one) are regarded today as standard diagnostic criteria and as offering hope for focussed treatments. A further indication of how important intensive basic research is for modern cancer treatment.