Mapping out myeloma development
Professor Reuben Tooze and his team at the University of Leeds are studying what happens when white blood cells in the bone marrow – called plasma cells – develop into a type of cancer known as myeloma.
They are particularly interested in how plasma cells can re-program their internal molecular ‘wiring’ to switch on genes that tell them to divide, which leds to cancer. Professor Tooze is studying these changes in depth to identify the faulty genes that drive myeloma.
Myeloma is an aggressive cancer and is hard to treat, so understanding the biology underpinning the development and progression of the disease could lead to better treatments in the future.
It could also lead to new tests to help doctors monitor people with certain blood disorders (such as Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance and Smouldering Myeloma) that can turn into myeloma, potentially pointing towards ways of detecting the disease in its early stages and saving more lives.