For the last few decades, very little progress has been made in finding a cure for osteosarcoma. The Osteosarcoma Institute (OSI) was founded to beat the disease once and for all, but with a different approach in mind. The OSI seeks to improve outcomes for osteosarcoma patients by conducting clinical and translational research in ways meaningfully more productive than past drug development efforts—not merely doing the same thing faster.
When it comes to cancer, knowledge is power—and there is strength in numbers. To enhance progress, OSI created an environment in which information is shared from every angle, and there are no limitations or restrictions when it comes to collaborating with scientists and researchers in the medical communities.
To do this, the OSI’s Strategic Advisory Board formed three scientific committees to address recognized gaps in the conventional research process—each with a clear area of focus. These committees work to change how the disease is understood and treated by sharing knowledge and information, and by supporting scientists and their efforts to discover osteosarcoma breakthroughs. There is also a Development Committee, which helps to secure funding for the research so that one day patients may have access to potential new innovative treatments for osteosarcoma.
Each committee is made up of a group of experts—world-renowned scientists, physicians and researchers—who come together to share ideas and strategies to help advance treatment options and improve survival rates.
“These individuals represent the cream of the crop in the field of osteosarcoma research and medicine,” says Chand Khanna, DVM, PhD, Strategic Advisory Board Chair. “They truly are the best and brightest minds coming together.”
SCIENTS Committee: Remove Obstacles
The Scientific Correlates and Innovative, Emerging New Technologies (SCIENTS) Committee is involved in correlative research, which is critical in understanding a disease like osteosarcoma.
“In order to fully understand and develop advanced treatment options, there needs to be access to the tissues and samples of people with the disease,” explains Dr. Khanna.
The SCIENTS Committee will connect these samples from patients with new technologies, to examine the disease with the latest and greatest techniques. This committee works with the physicians and doctors who are actively caring for patients, which allows them to analyze tissue samples that harbor valuable information. This information can then be used in osteosarcoma research development and treatment discovery for unsolved biological questions about osteosarcoma.
SIFT Committee: Discover and Support
In the Strategic Initiatives and Funding Team (SIFT), committee members are deputized to find and fund promising scientific discoveries and improvements that may help advance osteosarcoma research—from all over the world. For example, if a researcher is shepherding groundbreaking work in malaria and SIFT believes it could be applied to osteosarcoma, the committee members can funnel funding advice, and research tools to that project to see where it might lead. This committee helps to align the best scientific programs and teams with the OSI’s research agenda.
BOP Committee: Accelerate Progress
On the other end of the spectrum, the Brokers of Progress (BOP) Committee is charged with the role of negotiating and coordinating connections between the scientists in academia—the ones doing the research—and the biopharmaceutical industry to help get a drug developed. For example, if a researcher has a drug that they want to bring to the marketplace, but they don’t know how to begin in osteosarcoma, BOP can help these researchers do just that.
“OSI brings the best people to the table to help you in the biopharmaceutical industry,” says Dr. Khanna, “to succeed with your drug development efforts and bring new drugs to osteosarcoma patients.”
Development Committee: Fund Advancements and Raise Awareness
The Development Committee focuses on osteosarcoma research funding and fundraising, raising awareness and galvanizing advocacy around osteosarcoma across the globe.
“This committee’s sole purpose is to fund clinical trials, translational grants and osteosarcoma science to identify new treatment options for patients for whom the first line of therapy has failed,” says Amy Lobner, MPH, CCRC, OSI’s Scientific Project Manager.
It is not a matter of if we find a cure for osteosarcoma, but when.
“All of these individuals are 100 percent committed and dedicated to the goal of changing treatment options and impacting the survival rates of those with osteosarcoma, so that no other child has to suffer from this terrible disease,” adds Amy, whose role is to find the intersections between these spheres of influence and make sure nothing falls between the gaps. “It’s quite remarkable and humbling to be among these individuals.”
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