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Developing new tests to identify which individuals with smouldering myeloma are at risk of developing myeloma

Melissa Cantley
Dr Melissa Cantley, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Adelaide
Funding period: 2020-2022.

Multiple myeloma is a deadly blood cancer that is diagnosed in 140,000 people worldwide each year. It is preceded by a pre-cancerous condition, known as smouldering myeloma, in which patients do not have the debilitating bone disease and other symptoms that are characteristic of multiple myeloma.

We know that, every year, 1 in every 10 smouldering myeloma patients will develop multiple myeloma; however, at this time there are no diagnostic tests that can be used to identify those patients that are going to develop multiple myeloma.

Early detection of smouldering myeloma patients at high-risk of developing multiple myeloma, is critical to enable early treatment in order to maximize their chance of survival. We will use a state-of-the-art technique known as proteomics that allows us to identify protein markers in the blood that are uniquely present in high-risk smouldering myeloma patients.

We hope that these studies will enable us to develop new diagnostic tests to identify those high-risk patients to enable them to receive early treatment to improve their chance of survival.