Brazilian and French scientists joined efforts in the research on the treatment of some rare types of cancer, starting with sarcomas. The partnership was forged between Hospital A. C. Camargo Cancer Center, which offers diagnosis, treatment, training, and research in Brazil, and one of the most renowned European research centers for cancer, Institut Curie, a private non-profit foundation based in France.
A. C. Camargo Research Superintendent Vilma Martins explains that sarcomas are tumors with 70 subtypes affecting soft structures, which add up to half the weight of the human body—like muscles, fat, tendons, and peripheral nerves. Patients with a sarcoma show a small painless nodule in the affected area. The nodule grows at a rapid pace and may take on large dimensions.
“Sarcomas are relatively rare and also aggressive. The therapeutic possibilities are few,” Martins said. Treatment includes the extraction of the tumor, radiation therapy before and after the surgery, and chemotherapy, used to curb metastasis. In advanced sarcomas, all three methods may be combined.
In the study, patients under treatment at the research centers will serve as sample. Doctors, residents, and scientists will go on exchange programs between the two countries in order to trade information and experience. “This will also bring people from other fields. It should be promising,” Martins said. The partnership, she said, has no fixed date to end and other types of cancer are also likely to be studied.
Also to be focused in the initial stages of the research are the strides made in radiation therapy. A. C. Camargo has reached the highest accreditation level for radiation therapy at the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira