Key elements include:
- Understanding the underlying causes of myeloma – environmental and/or genetic
- Designing strategies to prevent precursor states of multiple myeloma – MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance) and smoldering myeloma – from developing into active myeloma
- Deciphering how inherited genetic factors interact with cancer cells to influence disease progression and outcome
Myeloma development starts when a normal plasma cell develops features of a myeloma cancer stem cell and continues to acquire abnormalities until it becomes a fully cancerous cell.
We have already identified seven genes that increase susceptibility to the disease process and thus increase the likelihood of myeloma development.
Next steps in our research include:
- Identifying rare genetic variants that increase risk within a family through DNA analysis
- Studying the impact of inherited factors on treatment effectiveness
- Investigating how inherited factors affect the normal biology of the myeloma cell so we can design strategies to normalize the environment and prevent disease progression
- Designing prevention and early intervention strategies
Myeloma Center researchers are well-versed in advanced technologies, such as next generation sequencing, that enable in-depth study of myeloma development at the molecular level.