Molecules that influence the progression of MGUS to myeloma

Lead researcher - Professor Claire Edwards, University of Oxford
Cancer type - Myeloma
Targeting cholesterol and IGF-1 in the development of MGUS and myeloma
Amount awarded: £223,376
Award start date: 01 Jan 2016
Award duration: 3 yrs (36 months)

The team want to understand if certain molecules such as cholesterol influences the progression of MGUS to myeloma. By knowing what drives the change, doctors may be able to intervene to stop the cancer from happening in the first place.

Multiple myeloma is a fatal blood cancer. It is nearly always preceded by the non-cancerous blood cell disorder termed monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). Not all patients with MGUS will develop myeloma, and the reasons why only some patients with MGUS progress to myeloma are poorly understood. We have found that a high fat diet promotes the development of myeloma, but the reasons why are unknown. We think that changes in specific molecules, including cholesterol, promote myeloma development. We anticipate that blocking these changes, using dietary approaches or safe well-tolerated drugs that are already in clinical use for other conditions, may prevent or delay disease progression. We propose to use a comprehensive combination of measurements in patient blood samples, cellular studies and preclinical models of myeloma to investigate this. Identification of these mechanisms will increase our understanding of myeloma development, which is essential in order to ultimately develop a cure for this fatal cancer. Our studies will discover potential approaches to delay progression from MGUS to myeloma and help identify those patients at greatest risk for progression from MGUS to multiple myeloma.