Led by Gareth J. Morgan, MD, PhD, our lab aims to cure and prevent the development of cancer by understanding and therapeutically manipulating the genetic and epigenetic basis for the evolution of multiple myeloma to increasingly aggressive high-risk leukemic states.
Multiple myeloma is a devastating cancer of the blood system which arises from a type of cell in the lymphoid system, called a plasma cell, that exists to protect the body from infection. Studying multiple myeloma is not only important for patients with multiple myeloma but also because it provides a good model system to understand and treat more complex cancers, which are currently difficult to understand. Explore the latest updates in multiple myeloma as shared by Dr. Morgan in the Video Journal of Hematological Oncology.
Relevance of Multiple Myeloma Research to Patient Care
Although multiple myeloma develops from a single immortalized cell within the whole population of the cells that make up the cancer, there is genetic variation. The subtle differences in biology resulting from this genetic variation when combined with selective pressures in the bone marrow leads to a process of adaptation and competition where the best adapted cells come to dominate.
Because of the biological differences between the multiple myeloma cells, the system behaves as an evolutionary ecosystem that can be studied and manipulated therapeutically. The rate of progression to aggressive disease states will reflect the balance of genetic change in the tumor cells together with the immune and cellular responses to these changes.
We aim to build disease models based on a thorough understanding of the genetic basis of disease pathology that can be manipulated therapeutically. By therapeutically considering multiple myeloma as an evolutionary ecosystem driven by acquired genetic and epigenetic changes, we will be able to address our major clinical aims of improving the outcome of patients with high-risk clinically aggressive states and preventing the development of multiple myeloma from its premalignant states, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM).
We have shown that myeloma is not a single disease, but rather composed of distinct subsets that have different biological features. The secret to improving clinical outcomes is to recognize, understand, and target treatment strategies to the biology of these groups. Our research projects are aimed at understanding this biology.
If we are to effectively target new therapies to subsets of disease, we need to develop diagnostic tests able to identify these subsets in the clinic. This process of translating laboratory developments to improve patient care is a central aim of our myeloma program.
For more information about our lab, please contact Dr. Morgan, director of myeloma research at Perlmutter Cancer Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Alyssa Meyer, Dr. Morgan’s assistant, at 212-263-4753.
We are located within the Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center located at 522 First Avenue on the 10th Floor.