Three pronged attack: Reducing bone disease, anaemia and sending myeloma cells back to sleep

Lead researcher - Professor Claire Edwards, University of Oxford
Cancer type - Myeloma
Targeting BMP signalling in the MGUS/MM bone microenvironment
Amount awarded: £249,691
Award start date: 01 Apr 2018
Award duration: 3 years (36 months)

Nearly all people who have myeloma will first have had a blood disorder called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).

Interactions between myeloma cells and the surrounding cells in the bone marrow causes the myeloma to progress and the bones to weaken. Therefore, understanding these interactions is key to identifying new treatment approaches.

Professor Edwards has previously found that changes to cell signalling pathway called BMP are associated with the development of myeloma.

Targeting the BMP proteins found in this signalling pathway with drugs can reduce the bone disease and anaemia associated with myeloma, and researchers think that these drugs could also put the myeloma cells in a ‘sleeping’ state, where they are no longer growing.

The team will now look at these drugs in more detail at different stages of the disease - MGUS, early multiple myeloma and multiple myeloma. They will also see if the drugs can be combined with chemotherapy.

Researchers hope to both to reveal a new way to treat myeloma, and also help prevent the associated bone damage the disease inflicts.