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Dr. Simpson's Research to Improve Remission rates for Multiple Myeloma Patients is funded by NIH

The National Institutes of Health through the National Cancer Center, recently announced funding for a study at HHP that could lead to new treatment options and improve remission rates for patients suffering from multiple myeloma. The study titled, "CMV infection and NK-cell therapy for multiple myeloma" aims to investigate the effects of cytomegalovirus infection and expansion of “CMV-specific” NK-cells on anti-myeloma activity and treatment outcomes in stem cell recipients with multiple myeloma. Dr. Simpson is the principal investigator on the project and Dr. Daniel O'Connor and Dr. Austin Bigley are co-investigators for the $211,261 grant.

Dr. Richard Simpson Dr. Daniel O'Connor Dr. Austin Bigley
Dr. Richard Simpson Dr. Daniel O'Connor Dr. Austin Bigley

If successful, this study will open the door to new laboratory techniques that selectively expand myeloma-reactive NK-cells for use in allogeneic adoptive transfer immunotherapy to prevent relapse or induce remission in multiple myeloma patients receiving stem cell transplantation.

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a is a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells and is the second most prevalent blood cancer affecting approximately 83,367 Americans. In 2016, it is estimated that there will be  about 30,330 new cases diagnosed and the disease is expected to cause about 12,650 deaths.

High dose chemotherapy in combination with autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the standard treatment for multiple myeloma; however, innovative strategies are required to improve treatment outcome as most patients fail to achieve complete remission post-transplant and 55.1% of patients die within 5 years. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a potentially fatal complication in patients receiving HSCT, but recent evidence suggests that, when properly treated, it can exert beneficial clinical outcomes.

This study will examine the role of CMV infection and frequency of NKG2Cpos/NKG2Aneg NK-cells on early post-transplant responses in multiple myeloma patients receiving autologous HSCT. The study also intends to increase the number of cells with high anti-myeloma activity from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and cryopreserved cord blood samples using HLA-E-transfected feeder cells. If successful, this innovative approach could improve NK-cell-based immunotherapy for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

Learn more about Multiple Myeloma from the American Cancer Society

(NIH Disclaimer: The reasearch project reported above is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R21CA197527. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health)

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