Our sarcoma research


Dr Mandy Ballinger, Professor David Thomas, Dr Maya Kansara and Dr Arcadi Cipponi.

Using whole-genome sequencing to research deeply into our DNA has led to the discovery that all disease is linked to genetic mutations so that instead of trying to treat disease symptoms, we can now target the mutations causing them. This is personalised medicine.

Whole-genome sequencing gives the Cancer Division’s research teams the unparalleled ability to test families with a genetic risk for sarcoma, vastly increasing our understanding of this aggressive cancer and leading to better prevention and more effective personalised medicine.

We now understand that there are significant familial risk factors for sarcoma. Garvan’s Professor David Thomas and his team are examining family links and genetic predisposition to sarcomas, and offering access to potential new therapies via the Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) clinical trials program.

You can help us find better sarcoma treatments by supporting our breakthrough research.

Key areas of investigation

Prof David Thomas
Prof David Thomas

The future of genomic cancer medicine

Professor David Thomas is the Director of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, as well as Head of Garvan’s Cancer Division. The Kinghorn Cancer Centre is a joint venture of Garvan and St Vincent’s Hospital and Professor Thomas’s Genomic Cancer Medicine Program, which seeks to provide a personalised medicine approach to the treatment and care of cancer patients.

‘It is important to bring genomics into clinical care. We need to translate fundamental scientific knowledge into interventions that help patients – to assess cancer risk or to evaluate molecular targeted therapies.’ Professor David Thomas

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The International Sarcoma Kindred Study

The International Sarcoma Kindred Study (ISKS) is an Australian initiative investigating the heritable aspects of adult-onset sarcoma.

‘A lot of what we’re doing going forward is looking at how we use genetic information about risk to alter the way we treat people. The more we know, the more precisely we can match individuals with the best possible treatment for them.’ Professor David Thomas

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Dr Mandy Ballinger
Dr Mandy Ballinger

Managing increased risk

Understanding inherited risk is clinically important for several reasons. Many sarcoma patients are in their reproductive years and effective strategies now exist for antenatal and pre-gestational diagnosis if a cancer predisposition gene is identified.

‘SMOC+ is showing that information about genetic risk can be used to offer personalised surveillance that could save lives.’ Professor David Thomas.

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National and International Collaborations

  • Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea Centre
  • Georges François Leclerc, Dijon, France
  • Centre Régional de Lutte Contre le Cancer Léon Bérard, Lyon, France 
  • Centre Régional de Lutte Contre le Cancer Oscar Lambret, Lille, France
  • Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Sydney, Australia
  • Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK
  • Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia
  • Hollywood Private Hospital, Perth, Australia 
  • Hôpitaux de Marseille, Marseille, France
  • Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, Strasbourg , France
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Utah, USA
  • Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France
  • Mt Sinai Hospital, New York, USA
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  • Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
  • Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia
  • Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  • Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK Royal
  • Prince Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  • Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India
  • University College London Hospital, London, UK.