Kate Vandyke: Is it possible to predict myeloma risk by looking at factors produced by ageing bone marrow cells?
Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a complex disease affecting the body’s plasma cells.
Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is a common pre-cancerous condition seen in 3% of the population over the age of 50, characterised by low numbers of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow. In the majority of MGUS patients, these abnormal plasma cells remain in a stable, non-growing state for many years; however, in approximately 10% of MGUS patients, unknown event(s) trigger the growth of these abnormal PCs, resulting in the development of multiple myeloma.
In her work to date, Dr Kate Vandyke has uncovered compelling data suggesting that specialised cells in the ageing bone marrow produce factors that drive the growth of myeloma tumour cells.
Kate’s project will examine whether factors produced by these ageing cells can be used to identify who is at risk of developing myeloma and whether anti-ageing (senolytic) drugs can prevent myeloma tumour growth.
Kate is currently a Research Fellow and co-lead of the Myeloma Research Laboratory, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, based at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Cancer Theme. Kate’s current research interests involve elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for the disease progression in the bone marrow cancer multiple myeloma. Her studies are primarily aimed at identifying those patients that do very poorly and identifying tailored treatments for this group of patients.