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The path to personalized medicine: Dr. Gareth Morgan describes his work to subdivide myeloma into actionable types, target specific genes and pathways, and study the impact of the bone marrow environment
The path to personalized medicine: Dr. Gareth Morgan describes his work to subdivide myeloma into actionable types, target specific genes and pathways, and study the impact of the bone marrow environment image
HealthTree Podcast for Multiple Myeloma
event Nov 05, 2013 / 11:00AM MST

Event Description

 Dr. Gareth Morgan, PhD, FRCP, FRCPath Interview date: November 8, 2013 

 Dr. Gareth Morgan shares his approach to personalized medicine in multiple myeloma. He reiterates that myeloma is not a single disease, but a group of diseases with different prognosis and natural history. He explains how he first identifies high-risk myeloma and then looks at patients at a molecular level with FISH, gene expression profiling, and a new test called RQ-PCR (a quick and inexpensive test) to identify misbehaving genes. He notes that RAS mutations are present in 50% of myeloma patients (he believes it to be driver mutation) and that MYC mutations are present in about 20% of myeloma patients. He believes that the top candidate myeloma genetic targets are drugs that inhibit MEk and the RAS pathway. He gives us a preview that drugs are in development that may be able to switch off MMSET, the gene that is deregulated in the 4;14 translocation. He shares his view of the future - the ability to identify actionable mutations where treatments may already exist in other forms of cancer that can be used in myeloma. He describes the challenge to subdivide patients for more personalized treatments in myeloma without a global, standardized approach for testing. He shares his research hypothesis for the transitions of MGUS and smoldering myeloma into active myeloma, thinking that he would find one or two mutations that drove the activation, but found instead that the trigger may be the effect of myeloma cell secretion that changes the bone marrow environment which then kicks myeloma cells into high gear. As a result, he recommends that we look at how myeloma changes the bone marrow micro-environment. He also recommends that if we want to achieve a cure, that we front load treatment to knock out  the majority of the cells to prevent regrowth. He shares his belief that "knowledge is power" and advocates participating in clinical trials to help move research forward.    The live mPatient Radio podcast with Dr. Gareth Morgan

Schedule & Agenda

Dr Gareth Morgan & Jenny Ahlstrom

Speakers & Moderators

The panelist Gareth Morgan, MD, PhD
Gareth Morgan, MD, PhD

Gareth Morgan, MD, PhD, is Director of Multiple Myeloma Research at NYU Langone Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York, NY. He is an internationally recognized clinician-scientist in the molecular genetics of blood cell cancers and myeloma treatment. He has a particular focus on diagnostic prevention and treatment strategies for high-risk and relapsed/refractory myeloma. Dr. Morgan is doing influential work on the characterization of the myeloma genome, defining specific subsets of the disease that have prognostic importance, and developing personalized therapeutic strategies targeted to each subtype. He is also engaged in advanced research in molecular diagnostics, drug development, and clinical trials. His research aims to cure myeloma and to reduce side effects by targeting treatment to the biology underlying each patient’s cancer. Prior to leading the Perlmutter Cancer Center’s myeloma program, Dr. Morgan was Professor of Medicine and Director of the Myeloma Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Professor of Hematology and Director of the Centre for Myeloma Research at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research in London, Europe’s largest comprehensive cancer institute. He is also a founding director of the European Myeloma Network and has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Morgan received his doctorate on the genetics of leukemia from the University of London in 1991 and his bachelor of medicine in 1981 from the Welsh National School of Medicine. His post graduate medical training was completed in Wales and at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London.

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The panelist Jennifer Ahlstrom
Jennifer Ahlstrom

Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of the HealthTree Foundation.

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