Dr. Conrad, you mentioned when you're talking about sarcoma in terms of the patient's perspective that they're faced with the sarcoma tiger, and you as a leader in the field, you've been faced with it, too. What's your dream for taming the tiger? How much progress have we made? You talked about sort of being at the 50 yard line or halftime, and what are the next challenges? How are we doing? How far do we have to go? And do you have hope?
I have a lot of hope. I think in the next five to ten years, in the next five years we'll have some new drugs. We already have a couple of potential candidates to supplement sort of the first team. We have a good first team set of drugs and a pretty good second team. You need three or four teams or five or six to fight these tumors because many of these tumors are resistant to the first line therapy or the second line therapy. What we desperately need are some new drugs or some new methods for managing these high grade tumors. We can assess response very quickly. We're getting better at surgical treatment and local control, but we desperately need new biologic therapies that will help save the people that are not responding to first line therapy. And that's about half of the high grade patients, so it's a large number of patients.
Now, that leads to clinical trials. Now, I know most children now are in clinical trials, and I know it would be helpful for many adults to hopefully maybe get tomorrow's medicine today and answer questions for everyone by being in a trial. Do you want to speak about trials and where we are with that now?
Trials are absolutely critical. The children that we treat, about two thirds to three fourths of the children that we treat are on clinical trials, and it's because we all consider, there are smaller number of tumors so it's easier to focus on them. We all want our children to have the best treatment so they're more intensely evaluated than the average adult, despite our best efforts.
But some adults have a negative reaction to clinical trials, and I would like to argue against being negative about trials because the trials allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy, and they're absolutely critical for an unusual sarcoma type and for high grade sarcomas. Our oncologists in my world are not doing their jobs unless they are doing a good job of getting people on clinical trials so that the patients can be evaluated after the fact. Otherwise you just cannot evaluate what happened and what went wrong with therapy unless they're on a trial. Clinical trials are really essential.
It's a relatively small number of people who are affected by sarcoma, but certainly scary diagnosis, and I think this really speaks to people working together as a community. It's a community no family wants to be part of but they find themselves, and then with researchers, clinicians such as you and your team, hopefully you can continue to make progress. I want to congratulate you on your achievements over decades now and wish you all the best, Dr. Conrad, with continued moving the ball forward in fighting the sarcoma tiger.
Thanks, Andrew. I appreciate your support for our patients.
Well, this is what we do on Patient Power. Thanks to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for helping us educate people around the world, and in this case about sarcoma, the great work that's done at the Seattle Children's led by Dr. Conrad and the work he and his team carry forward to adults through the University of Washington and other branches of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
Thank you so much for joining us. Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all.
Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, its medical staff or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.