Cancer Researchers and Oncologists Offer a Clinical Trial for Multiple Myeloma Patients
News Aug 12, 2008
Cancer researchers at George Mason University’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine are studying the effects of experimental treatments on living tumor cells taken from multiple myeloma patients who are undergoing a routine diagnostic process.
The trial may result in the discovery of novel therapeutic targets for treatment of this incurable form of blood cancer expected to strike nearly 20,000 men and women this year.
CAPMM co-directors Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin III are partnering with oncologists at Fairfax-Northern Virginia Hematology Oncology in a clinical program for multiple myeloma patients to examine protein signal pathway activity in diseased cells and determine what type of drug intervention is needed to prevent further growth of the disease.
“This is not a patient treatment trial,” explains Liotta. “Instead, living cells from a biopsy are treated in culture immediately after being removed from the patient.”
Trial participants will undergo a bone marrow biopsy, which is part of the routine standard of care practices for an existing or suspected multiple myeloma diagnosis. Once the office procedure is performed, extra material not required for diagnosis is immediately preserved and taken to the CAPMM laboratories for analysis.
“Our data indicate that the protein signaling pathways that control cellular activity are different in each patient’s tumor,” Liotta says. “This novel trial will test a large series of targeted inhibitors, alone and in unique combinations, which block key signaling pathways in the tumor cells. This is a key first step toward true individualized therapy for multiple myeloma.”
Currently, treatment of multiple myeloma is based on a one-size-fits-all approach that fails to consider the protein signaling information, Petricoin adds.
“Since this information underpins the growth and survival of the cancer cells, we hypothesize that turning patient-specific signaling activation off will kill the tumor cells more effectively than the current treatment,” he says. “In this initial study, we will test promising new treatments that may be candidates for Phase I or II clinical treatment research trials.”