New research identifies mechanism for genetic risk of developing myeloma


New research funded by Myeloma UK has identified the mechanism that explains how a key genetic variant acts to increase the risk of developing myeloma.

National cancer charity Myeloma supports research into myeloma, and the discovery and development of new treatments for patients.

Bloodwise, Cancer Research UK and The Rosetrees Trust have provided additional funding for the research, which forms part of the myeloma research programme at The Institute of Cancer Research, London (ICR).

The study compares the genomes of healthy individuals with those of myeloma patients and has identified 17 genetic risk variants for myeloma to date.

ICR London Molecular and Population Genetics study leader professor Richard Houlston said: “Our study is an important step forward for research into myeloma, because it has started to untangle the complex biology that underlies the genetics of cancer risk.

"Our study is an important step forward for research into myeloma, because it has started to untangle the complex biology that underlies the genetics of cancer risk."

“If we know exactly how a genetic variant operates to increase the risk of myeloma, we can start thinking about how we can exploit that information to improve treatments or to prevent the disease.”

As part of the new findings, ICR scientists focused on a risk variant sequence found on chromosome 7 called rs4487645.

According to researchers, myeloma risk is increased with rs4487645 by way of involvement of a protein called IRF4, which helps to switch on the production of another protein known as CDCA7L.

The research programme will now understand how the risk variant sequences can contribute to the chances of developing myeloma.

Myeloma UK research director Dr Simon Ridley said: “It is very important to develop a greater understanding of the causes of myeloma, including the different genes and proteins that initiate and drive disease progression.

“Our research strategy is focused on patient benefit. From discovery science through to clinical trials and healthcare delivery we work to ensure patients get access to the right treatment at the right stage of disease.”