Dr. Antonescu’s research centers on the deep molecular characterization of rare sarcomas that strike children and young adults. The essence of precision medicine, these critical data point to the inner workings of a tumor, and are used to guide treatment decisions. The Fund is supporting Dr. Antonescu’s study of tumors that contain “simple” genetic abnormalities, sparked through a single mutational event. So far, no standard treatments have been proven to counter these sarcoma subtypes.
In the laboratory, Dr. Antonescu and her team have developed a state-of-the-art screening technique to uncover new genetic “fusions”—when two genes join together to form a potent driver of cancer. Finding one particular fusion in several different types of pediatric sarcomas, Dr. Antonescu is using lab-based models to investigate their role in triggering cancer. This work represents a critical first step toward drug testing—and, ultimately, the creation of a life-saving therapy.