The role of the bone marrow microenvironment in myeloma development | Leukaemia Foundation

The role of the bone marrow microenvironment in myeloma development

Investigators: Professors Zannettino (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide); Croucher (Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney); and Smyth (Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane).
Funding: $596,200 over 3 years.
Period: 2019 – 2022.
Primary Disease Focus: Myeloma​

Project Summary​:
Myeloma is currently an incurable disease with most individuals relapsing quicker and quicker after each subsequent treatment​.

Myeloma has two precursor ‘indolent’ phases called MGUS and SMM​.

In these conditions there is an increase in the number of myeloma cells, compared to ‘normal’ individuals however these cells appear to be in a dormant or ‘sleep like’ state hidden within the bone marrow​.

It is estimated that 1 in 30 people over the age of 50 have MGUS which increases to one in 20 in people aged over 70 and nearly one in 10 people aged over 85​.

Preliminary data shows that these dormant cells survive current therapy and reactivate at a later stage leading to relapse ​.

This project will develop a diagnostic test to identify the indolent stages of myeloma (eg MGUS and SMM), understand how these dormant cells use the bone marrow to survive, understand the role of the immune system in controlling the dormant cells, develop an immunotherapy against the dormant cells (they have already identified a potential target)​.

Last updated on January 20th, 2020

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