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Doctors led by professor at Stanmore's Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital given award in the Netherlands
A team of medical experts has been awarded a prestigious international prize for making a scientific breakthrough that could revolutionise the treatment of bone cancer.
The team, led by Professor Adrienne Flanagan of Stanmore’s Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, was presented with the Jeremy Jass Prize for Research Excellence in Pathology, from the Pathological Society, at a ceremony in the Netherlands on Tuesday evening.
The scientists were the first to identify a genetic mutation that is present in about half of all types of chondrosarcomas – the second most common form of bone cancer.
The discovery means that patients with this mutation could be given more personalised treatment, which could improve their chances of survival.
Consultant pathologist, Professor Flanagan, said: “This is an extremely exciting discovery that has the potential to greatly improve outcomes for patients.
“Bone sarcomas such as chondrosarcoma can develop in any of the bones of the body. They can occur at any age but chondrosarcomas most commonly occur in people over the age of 40 and in men.
“There are approximately 400 cases of primary bone cancer in the UK each year, of which about 90 cases are chondrosarcomas.”
The professor added: “Our understanding and treatment of bone cancer has changed very little in the last thirty years.
“In some ways we are where the treatment of breast cancer was in the 1990s. The standard treatment for chondrosarcoma is restricted to removal of the affected part, as tumours are resistant to chemo and radiotherapy.
“Until now we haven’t known enough about the causes of chondrosarcomas to be able to develop effective individualised treatment for patients. Now that we have identified that between 50-65 per cent of chondrosarcomas contain the IDH1 or IDH2 mutation, we can develop specific drugs for this group of patients.”