Repurposing existing drugs to treat myeloma

Chief investigator - Dr Farhat Khanim, University of Birmingham
Cancer type - Myeloma
Preclinical testing of low dose valproate and niclosamide (VaN) as novel anti-myeloma therapy
Amount awarded: £245,864
Award start date: 01 Feb 2016
Award duration: 2.5 yrs (28 months)

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a blood cancer that affects predominantly people over the age of 60. Current intensive therapies are able to prolong the life of some MM patients however in most cases the disease will return (relapse) or is resistant to begin with. Many older patients (>70yrs) are not able to tolerate the side effects of currently available intensive treatments and survival is poor in this group. Therefore there is a need for anti-MM therapies that have limited side-effects which are effective in older patients and those with resistant or relapsed disease. We have identified a combination, of an anti-epileptic drug and an anti-tapeworm drug, called VaN that can kill MM cells in the laboratory. The aim of this project is to understand how VaN works against MM cells and to test them in a model that better reflects the complex interaction between MM tumour cells and other cells in the body. The ultimate aim of this project is to advance VaN therapy to clinical trials in MM patients who are either too old for intensive treatments and in patients whose disease was resistant or has returned.