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Siteman Physician Receives Funding for Sarcoma Research

Contact:
Jim Goodwin
314-286-0166
jgoodwin@wustl.edu  

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Brian Van Tine, MD, PhD, a sarcoma specialist at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

May 21, 2012 – Brian Van Tine, MD, PhD, a sarcoma specialist at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named a 2012 Career Development Award recipient by the Sarcoma Alliance for Research Through Collaboration (SARC).

The annual award goes to two clinical researchers studying sarcomas, a group of more than 100 types of rare malignant tumors found in soft tissues and bone. It includes a $100,000 research grant per scientist that may be extended up to three years for a total of $300,000.

“I’m grateful to SARC for recognizing the value of my work, and I’m excited about the opportunity to advance research for my patients,” says Van Tine, assistant professor of medical oncology at Washington University School of Medicine.

Sarcomas are found primarily in soft tissues, including fat, cartilage and muscle, but also in bone. They account for 1 percent of cancers in adults and 15 percent in children.

Van Tine will use the grant to continue studying whether the anti-malarial drug chloroquine, when used in combination with a traditional sarcoma therapy, is more effective in breaking down an amino acid necessary in the growth of cancer cells. If that’s the case, chloroquine could become a commonly prescribed therapy for sarcoma patients.

SARC president Denise Reinke, MS, said the research atmosphere at Siteman played an important role in the Michigan-based group’s decision to award funding to Van Tine.

“Dr. Van Tine has a novel and interesting idea and a strong platform for doing the work, but he also has a supportive environment in which to pursue advances in sarcoma research,” she says.

An estimated 11,280 Americans will be diagnosed with a soft-tissue sarcoma this year, and another 3,900 will die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. Bone sarcomas affect thousands more.

“We’re thrilled to be able to support Dr. Van Tine’s work. He’s an enthusiastic and talented researcher and collaborator, and with this award he’ll continue to contribute to the science of sarcoma and sarcoma treatments,” Reinke says.