Developing CAR-T therapy for myeloma

Lead researcher - Dr Lydia Lee and Professor Kwee Yong, University College London
Cancer type - Myeloma
B-cell maturation antigen in multiple myeloma: biology and therapeutic target for chimeric antigen receptor strategy
Amount awarded: £209,309
Award start date: 01 Mar 2013
Award duration: 3 years, 4 months (40 months)

Multiple myeloma is a type of bone marrow cancer that can cause weak and painful bones, kidney damage, reduced blood cell production, and an impaired immune system. There are treatments for this condition but these are not always affective. Even when the cancer responds to our current treatments, it returns and is often fatal. We need to find new ways of treating this cancer. Myeloma cells express a protein called BCMA that is important for their survival. This protein is unique to myeloma cells and normal plasma cells. It may thus be useful as a target for new therapies. This project will analyse the expression of BCMA on a large number of patients' myeloma cells, to gain an understanding of its role in this cancer. The project will also develop a method to enable the patient immune cells to kill myeloma cells, by recognizing the BCMA protein on the cell surface.  These immune cells are called T-cells. Ultimately we hope that our work will lead to new treatments for multiple myeloma.