Novel target could be important for multiple myeloma therapy development

Scientists have identified a molecule on the tumour cells of Multiple Myeloma that could be a target for developing new treatment therapies.

Multiple Myeloma is a bone marrow cancer and it is diagnosed in around 6,000 people in the UK per year. It often affects several areas of the body and treatment is used to control the condition, as most cases of Multiple Myeloma are incurable. Myeloma cells closely interact with surrounding non-cancerous body cells from which they receive signals that foster Myeloma cell growth.

Despite recent advances in the treatment of Myeloma, some malignant cells ultimately escape the therapy, and the cancer commonly returns in a more aggressive fashion. Patients then need further therapies to help control the condition. A better understanding of the biology of Myeloma is critical for developing more effective treatments.

The study has revealed genes that are responsive to a certain form of oncogenic signalling in Myeloma cells - IL-27Rα and JAM2 and how they could be used to tailor new Myeloma treatments in the future. The study, a collaboration between the teams of Professor Ulf Klein at the School of Medicine, Professor David Westhead at the Faculty of Biological Sciences and Professor Gordon Cook at the Leeds CRUK Clinical Trials Unit, is published in the journal Blood Advances and it was funded by Blood Cancer UK and Cancer Research UK.

Future research will focus on how the newly identified IL-27Rα gene on Myeloma cells could be used for the development of alternative tailored therapies, such as modifying the interaction of Myeloma cells with the surrounding cells and tissue. 

Further information 

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