Proof-of-concept rare cancers in drug development: the case for rhabdomyosarcoma

Oncogene. 2014 Apr 10;33(15):1877-89. doi: 10.1038/onc.2013.129. Epub 2013 May 13.


Rare diseases typically affect fewer than 200,000 patients annually, yet because thousands of rare diseases exist, the cumulative impact is millions of patients worldwide. Every form of childhood cancer qualifies as a rare disease-including the childhood muscle cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). The next few years promise to be an exceptionally good era of opportunity for public-private collaboration for rare and childhood cancers. Not only do certain governmental regulation advantages exist, but these advantages are being made permanent with special incentives for pediatric orphan drug-product development. Coupled with a growing understanding of sarcoma tumor biology, synergy with pharmaceutical muscle disease drug-development programs, and emerging publically available preclinical and clinical tools, the outlook for academic-community-industry partnerships in RMS drug development looks promising.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Humans
  • Rare Diseases*
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma*