Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK have discovered 40 genes involved in the development of myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

Funded by Myeloma UK, the research is expected to aid the understanding of the genetics associated with the disease, leading to more personalised treatments for patients.

The team examined whole exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing data from 804 and 765 patients respectively.

It was observed that 16 genes in coding and 15 in non-coding regions of the DNA were disrupted.

“We need smarter, kinder treatments for myeloma that are more tailored to each person’s cancer.”

The PAX5 and HOXB3 tumour suppressors were downregulated by the non-coding mutations that resulted in the development and progression of the cancer.

In addition, TWEAK, TRAF2 and PRKD2 genes were disrupted by coding mutations, COBLL1 and MAP3K14. COBLL1 was dysregulated by non-coding DNA mutations, while MAP3K14 was upregulated due to DNA reorganisation.

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The Institute of Cancer Research molecular and population genetics professor Richard Houlston said: “We need smarter, kinder treatments for myeloma that are more tailored to each person’s cancer. Exhaustive genetic research like this is helping us to make that possible.

“Our findings should now open up new avenues for discovering treatments that target the genes driving myeloma.”

Myeloma spreads from the bone marrow and affects around 5,500 people in the UK per year.