The Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI, is a unique non-profit organization focused on the ‘preclinical gap’ in childhood cancer research.  Their mission is to bridge scientific discovery and the initiation of clinical trials.  Through their efforts, they will provide evidence-based testing for the selection of new drugs to be used in childhood cancer clinical trials, thus seeding pediatric Phase I and II trials.  This concept was emphasized in the Institute of Medicine Report, Making Better Drugs for Children with Cancer in 2005.  The goal of cc-TDI is to fill this needed role.  Our longstanding work with mouse models of soft tissue sarcomas is the cornerstone for basic science & target discovery, as well as preclinical studies, for our mission.  The cc-TDI laboratory is based on the premise of a non-profit multidisciplinary biotech and is thus located in between the Silicon Forest in Hillsborough, Oregon (Intel headquarters) and the Portland-area Marquam Hill medical center. 

Highlighted Research:
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue cancer found in children. Unfortunately, the overall survival rate for children with RMS that spreads throughout the body has not improved in over 40 years. This study proposes the investigation of a protein that could be involved in RMS growth, spread, and the creation of the tumor’s blood supply to further our understanding of metastatic RMS   disease.

The protein, called Osteopontin, has been implicated in tumor progression of several other cancers, including lymphoma, and is expressed in patients with RMS. Our studies would determine if eliminating the Osteopontin protein from RMS cells will adversely affect their ability to grow and spread, using both cell culture and in vivo models (mice). We will also determine if Osteopontin is involved with the ability of RMS to develop its own blood supply. If inhibition of Osteopontin proves to inhibit tumor growth or spread, implementing therapies targeting Osteopontin expression or function could significantly increase the survival period of many children who already have evidence of their tumor spreading throughout their bodies at the time of diagnosis.
These studies could provide the necessary data to develop clinical phase I and II trials for children diagnosed with aRMS or eRMS. We have a strong relationship with the Children’s Oncology Group, in particular  the  Soft  Tissue  Sarcoma  Committee  of  the    Children’s

Oncology Group, and will work closely with them to develop clinical trials if our biology studies show that this approach is appropriate. If blocking Osteopontin proves to inhibit RMS progression or metastasis, new therapies targeting OPN expression or function could significantly increase the 9‐40% five‐year survival for children who already have metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis. That said, given our preliminary data showing the prominence of Osteopontin in tumors from pet dogs with soft tissue sarcoma, a clinical trial of a new treatment could even be done in advance for dogs via our collaborators at Colorado State University.

What We Can Do:

It will take $51,500 to run this project and we are hoping that all of Pheonix's Fighters will join in and help fund this project.  We will update our Funding Indicator as we get closer to our goal.