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Personalized Medicine for Multiple Myeloma

Target therapy for:  Multiple myeloma

Background: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a blood-borne malignancy that develops in B-lymphocytes (B-cells) in bone marrow whereby genetic mutations lead to the uncontrolled proliferation of aberrant plasma cell clones.  These cancerous B-cells produce large quantities of mutated immunoglobulins (paraproteins) that are deposited in various organs leading to renal failure, anaemia, nerve damage, increased ingections, osteoporosis and other symptoms.

Existing Treatments are Insufficient Resulting in Disease Relapse

The standard therapy involves intensive hematopoetic autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) - necessary for rebuilding the immune system following destruction by the chemotherapy - a process which may be repeated.  The efficacy of this procedure is however hindered by residual cancer cells contaminating the transplants, and a tumor burden of 10^4 – 10^9 plasma cells per transplant has been observed.  Contamination by these myelomatous cells is associated with disease relapse.

Autolgous stem cell transplantation process

Image sourced from MAKNA (2008) [http://www.makna.org.my/bonemarrow.asp]

Our Approach:

  • We propose applying Mozaic & Lexcicon technology for rapid patient-specific targeting and purging of paraproteins and myelomatous cells
  • This may reduce development of resistance to repeated chemotherapy
  • Regulatory benefit due to ex vivo process - could treat 1st patient's blood next year

Stage of development: Screening of ex-vivo samples from multiple-myeloma patient