Mapping the Multiple Myeloma Genome Will Provide New Clues to It’s C


This week, a set of multiple myeloma genomes sequencing project have been successfully completed! The initial analysis of the sequencing data revealed the assortment of mutated genes involved in the multiple myeloma (that have never been suspected before). This makes possible the identification of the molecular mechanisms and could suggest chemical pathways to target in future therapies (some of which are already in development). For the first time, scientists have accessed the molecular causes of multiple myeloma – an aggressive, incurable blood cancer with a 5-year survival rate of 40%.

Multiple Myeloma Molecular Mechanisms

Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of blood plasma cells, which are responsible for the production of antibodies. The abnormal are attacking solid bone (causing bone lesions) and in the bone marrow where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells (malignant white blood cells). In most multiple myeloma cases is observed elevated production of paraprotein (frequently called M protein), an abnormal antibody that interferes with the production of normal antibodies leading to immunodeficiency, kidney problems or hypercalcemia. When myeloma cells collect in several of your bones, the disease is called Multiple Myeloma.

More about the molecular mechanism of multiple myeloma and the emerging trends in the disease therapeutics could be found in the book Multiple Myeloma – Emerging Cancer Therapeutics.

The disease develops in 1–4 per 100,000 people per year (about 20,000 new cases in the US a year.). It is more common in men, and is twice as common in blacks as it is in whites. With conventional treatment, the prognosis is 3–4 years, which may be extended to 5–7 years or longer with advanced treatments.

Sequencing and Analysis of the Multiple Myeloma genome

To map out its genetic code, researchers sequenced 38 tumor genomes from multiple myeloma patients, and then compared them with the patients’ normal DNA sequences. Further they have compared the sequences to the normal genome that provides clues about what makes a normal cell into a cancer cell. The aim was to discover mutations that are recurring at low frequency, so that it will make possible to extract significant patterns from the data.

The study identified a set fo genes which were never thought before to have an implication in multiple myeloma. For example the study identified that 4% of the multiple myeloma patients have mutations in the BRAF gene – a gene related to skin myeloma, but never found to be causing multiple myeloma.

That means an immediate trial could be done in a subset of multiple myeloma patients using a drug already in late-stage development.

The new hope – Next-generation sequencing, will allow scientists to comprehensively analyze the cancer genome at high resolutions and to provide valuable insights of molecular mechanism multiple myeloma.

With the developments in genetic testing, laboratories now offer a wide range of DNA test services covering areas such as the genetic health tests and paternity test.