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A New Therapy Target in Myeloma Treatment
Posted: Nov 30, 2023
A New Therapy Target in Myeloma Treatment image

Promising myeloma research has begun in Australia, where Dr. Bill Panagopoulous, from the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute), is uncovering a promising new treatment that inhibits tumor growth in myeloma and could have the potential to delay or even prevent relapse. 

The Medical Xpress news site reports on this breakthrough. 

"Most people diagnosed with multiple myeloma in Australia are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, which can initially help control the cancer. However, often patients experience treatment resistance and therefore relapse and ultimately die from this disease," says Dr. Panagopoulous, "...we believe this is partly because myeloma cancer cells are protected in the bone marrow by specialized cells that create a supportive environment for the cancer to survive and grow."

Dr. Panagopoulous continues, "Targeting the supportive environment together with standard-of-care anti-myeloma drugs will ultimately improve patient outcomes."

The research team working on this groundbreaking project identified myeloperoxidase (MPO) as a key player in bone marrow protection. This enzyme is associated with inflammation and is hypothesized to not only diminish the activity of cancer-fighting immune cells but also fuel the growth of multiple myeloma within the bone marrow environment. 

Within tested pre-clinical models, blocking the MPO has inhibited myeloma progression. Dr. Panagopoulous and his team are optimistic that the development of novel drugs targeting MPO within the bone marrow can be used in combination with the standard myeloma treatments that are used today in order to induce a significantly more durable treatment response. 

The team has partnered with a large pharmaceutical company to investigate these findings and hypotheses. Together, they will test the potential of an already existing MPO inhibitor (that has passed Phase I/II clinical trials) for the purpose of treating multiple myeloma.

This inhibitor they are hoping to test has already been proven safe for human use, therefore reducing the research time and costs of this anti-MPO treatment for myeloma. 

For more information on this exciting research, read the findings in the British Journal of Haematology here: Myeloperoxidase creates a permissive microenvironmental niche for the progression of multiple myeloma

The author Audrey Burton-Bethke

about the author
Audrey Burton-Bethke

Audrey is the Editor for the HealthTree Foundation for Multiple Myeloma. She originally joined the HealthTree Foundation in 2020 as the Myeloma Community Program Director. While not knowing much about myeloma initially, she worked hard to educate herself, empathize and learn from others' experiences. She loves this job. Audrey is passionate about serving others, loves learning, and enjoys iced chais from Dutch Bros. She also loves spending time with her supportive husband and energetic three-year-old. 

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