Month: March 2016

10 Mar 2016


29 February was Rare Disease Day, here’s some news on the research into some lesser known types of cancer.

Ewing’s Sarcoma

Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer that is mainly found in teenagers and young adults. This is unusual, seeing that cancer is a disease that predominantly affects older people. If caught early, 70% of patients diagnosed with the disease have a life expectancy of at least 5 years conversely around 30% of patients die within 5 years of diagnosis.

Dr Maria Paola Paronetto from Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome, is investigating this disease, and had this to say: “I work on the rare cancer Ewing’s sarcoma because it is a cruel tumour, which nestles into bone and soft tissue of children.  We need a better solution than amputation and multidrug chemotherapy.  If successful, I hope my research will help affected children have a greater chance of a normal life.”


An oncocytoma is a tumour made up of oncocytes which are, epithelial cells characterized by an excessive amount of mitochondria; oncocytomas can develop in a number of organs.

Dr Giuseppe Gasparre from the University of Bologna in Italy is researching this disease and had the following to say: “In some families, the accumulation of DNA mutations in the powerplants (mitochondria) in tumors is a recurrent event, happening in parents, children and grandchildren etc.  These mutations lead to so-called ‘oncocytic tumors’, which are generally benign (non-cancerous) but can be precancerous or indeed cancerous.”

He elaborated further as follows: “If we understand how these oncocytic tumour cells enter the slow growing sleep-like state it could be exploited with the use of drugs to make other, more dangerous cancer cells do the same.”

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