Bone cancer treatments will be progressed thanks to the Victorian Cancer Agency Early Career Fellowship, which has been awarded to Dr Vijesh Vaghjiani, Postdoctoral Scientist, Developmental and Cancer Biology Research group.
Dr Vaghjiani has been awarded $330 000 from 2021 to 2023 to support his research which seeks to improve the lives of patients, most of whom are children and adolescents, with a type of bone cancer known as osteosarcoma.
The Victorian Cancer Agency Early Career Research Fellowship is designed to support early career researchers undertaking high quality translational cancer research.
“Osteosarcoma is a devastating disease with limited treatment options that were developed in 1970s and remain unchanged,” Dr Vaghjiani said. “This project aims to develop and validate targeted therapies that would lead to better outcomes for patients and increased survival rates.”
VCA Early Career Fellowship
Dr Vijesh Vaghjiani
Exploiting therapeutic vulnerability of Hedgehog activated osteosarcoma
Osteosarcoma is a highly aggressive bone cancer, primarily affecting children and adolescents, with dismal outcomes. Our recent observations implicating inactivation of the tumour suppressor genes, TP53 and RB1, in oncogenic Hedgehog (Hh) signalling has led to renewed hope in developing potential targeted therapies for osteosarcoma. Using preclinical osteosarcoma models and patient tissues, we propose to evaluate the response to Hh inhibitor in tumours harbouring mutations in TP53 and RB1 and identify synergistic therapies. Validation of predictive biomarkers of response to Hh inhibitor therapy and identification of novel synergistic drug combinations will lead to urgently needed improvements in patient outcomes.