ANZSA Sarcoma Research Grant - Dr James Blackburn


ANZSA is proud to announce that the Johanna Sewell Sarcoma Research Grant was awarded to Dr James Blackburn from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

Dr Blackburn’s research will look to improve fusion gene detection and immune response assessment in sarcoma patients.

Fusion genes result from mis-repair of broken chromosomes and cause an estimated 30 per cent of all sarcoma cases. Their precise detection helps determine patient prognosis and informs appropriate treatment and care, thereby impacting overall mortality.

To address limitations in current diagnostic techniques, Dr Blackburn’s research team has developed and published a novel sequencing-based fusion gene test for sarcomas and other solid cancers that simultaneously detects all fusions present in a patient sample.

As many cancer-causing fusions are not currently treatable, Dr Blackburn’s team aims to advance their proven test design by additionally detecting the presence of immune cells within tumours, the sequencing of which will indicate patients who are potential candidates for immunotherapy.

The combination of highly accurate fusion gene diagnosis and immune cell monitoring provided by this new test design will enhance knowledge of potential treatment options and improve outcomes for sarcoma patients.