Dr. William Matsui, MD Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Interview Date: May 6, 2016
Dr. William Matusi of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine wants to understand why myeloma patients almost always relapse. His study led him to understand the difference between myeloma B-cells (stem cells) and more mature myeloma plasma cells. He noticed that the B-cells could generate more tumor cells while the mature plasma cells could not and also noticed that they were different in their sensitivity to chemo. Additionally, proteasome inhibitors target the proteins on the myeloma cells' surface, but these early B-cells don't make a lot of protein.To add more complexity, as a patient relapses, their M-spike number becomes less informative as to how their disease is or is not progressing. Because these B-cells can be counted in a patient's blood, Dr. Matsui is measuring levels with a special flow cytometry test. He shares his research of borrowing B-cell treatments like rituximab from lymphoma, but found that the CD20 target typically used for this type of blood cancer didn't work in myeloma. When he used a new CD19 target, however, he saw dramatic impact in multiple myeloma and he believes that the recent UPenn success further validates the idea that CD19 could be present on myeloma stem cells.
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William Matsui, MD, is Deputy Director of the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, Professor in the Department Oncology and Director of Hematological Malignancies Program at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. He specializes in caring for patients with cancers that involve the blood and bone marrow as well as bone marrow transplantation. He came to Austin from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was a professor of oncology and served as the director of the Multiple Myeloma Program and the co-director of the Division of Hematologic Malignancies. Dr. Matsui has carried out laboratory-based translational research throughout his career and focused on studying cancer stem cells, tumor cells with enhanced growth potential and their role in clinical oncology. His laboratory first identified cancer stem cells in the plasma cell malignancy multiple myeloma in 2003 and subsequently in other cancers including lymphomas, leukemias and pancreas cancer. His laboratory has also demonstrated that several pathways regulating normal stem cells, including those involved in embryonic development, are abnormally activated in cancer stem cells. Dr. Matsui completed his residency training in internal medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle and his clinical training in medical oncology at Johns Hopkins. He earned his medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco.
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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