Understanding how a normal plasma cell changes into a cell with the characteristics of a myeloma cancer stem cell will enable the design of new treatments based on altering the cell’s behavior to prevent disease progression, resistance to therapy and disease relapse. The goal is to design treatments that kill the myeloma cancer stem cells while sparing normal cells, resulting in cure with minimal side effects.
By modulating stem cell behavior we will be able to stabilize the stem cell, such that it becomes more sensitive to treatments, and prevent progression from MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance) and smoldering myeloma to active myeloma.
Stabilizing stem cells when they are in a benign phase will enable us to change the landscape from curing patients with myeloma to preventing the development of myeloma in the first place.
Myeloma Institute researchers are developing models for investigating the unique biology of the myeloma stem cell in order to:
- Better understand how MGUS and smoldering myeloma transform into active myeloma
- Gain insight into the biology of treatment resistance
- Design new treatments aimed specifically at the biology of the myeloma stem cell
- Effectively attack myeloma cells while sparing normal cells
- Identify genetic alterations and develop targeted therapies via a precision medicine approach