Scientists have revealed a new treatment that shows potential in treating soft tissue sarcoma, a type of cancer affecting the soft tissues like cartilages, muscle, fat and nerves.

The disease, which has the potential of developing in any part of the body, usually manifests in the truck, arms and legs. Till date, no new therapies have been approved in the United States for treatment of soft tissue sarcoma in the past 20 years.

The experimental drug Zymafos that contains palifosfamide will be tested at approximately 150 centers in North America, Europe, South America, Australia, Israel and Korea under a clinical trial program code-named PICASSO-3.

The study will estimate the safety and efficacy of the new treatment in as many as 424 patients with metastatic soft tissue sarcoma who have never been treated with chemotherapy for metastatic disease.

The investigators will compare the efficacy levels of palifosfamide administered with doxorubicin – another drug currently used to treat soft tissue sarcoma.

"Metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma is a disease for which we have seen few advances in treatment and no U.S. regulatory approvals in over two decades. Palifosfamide has demonstrated promising activity and tolerability in Phase II, including a clinically meaningful improvement in PFS [progression free survival]," says Dr. Robert Maki, immediate past president of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS) and co-leader of Adult Sarcoma Disease Management Team at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA .

Palifosfamide, which has been developed by Ziopharm, has Orphan Drug status in both Europe and the United States. Such a designation is given to medicines intended for treatment of life-threatening or chronically debilitating pathologies that affect no more than five in 10,000 people. The designation could accelerate the approval process of the sarcoma medicine.