by Mark Carter
Posted 4/22/2014 01:19 pm
Updated 3 months ago
Dr. Gareth Morgan, a cancer researcher from London, was introduced Tuesday as the new head of the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
Morgan will replace Dr. Bart Barlogie, the institute's founder, who will remain at UAMS to focus on clinical care and research. The myeloma institute at UAMS is considered by many to be the leading center for myeloma treatment and research in the world, and both Barlogie and Morgan are considered two of the world's leading researchers in the field.
Morgan, originally from Wales, will begin his full-time duties in July. He is a clinician and researcher with Myeloma UK Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.
Gov. Mike Beebe, who attended the announcement ceremony at UAMS' Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, called Barlogie and Morgan numbers 1 and 1A in the world when it comes to treating myeloma, a rare form of bone marrow cancer.
Morgan said he was honored to succeed Barlogie and looked forward to the chance to expand on the work done at the institute. He envisions establishing clinical trials investigating new treatments based on each patient's "unique myeloma fingerprint."
"With support from UAMS, I will build on the excellent work done to date as well as its reputation as a world leader in myeloma treatment to develop innovative appraoches for all myeloma patients and to characterize and cure high-risk myeloma," he said.
Founded by Barlogie in 1989, the UAMS myeloma institute has treated more than 11,000 patients from all 50 states and more than 50 countries. About 40 percent of its patients come from outside Arkansas. UAMS chancellor Dan Rahn said more myeloma patients are treated at the institute than any other treatment center in the world.
A $20 million infusion of state and private money helped UAMS lure Morgan to Arkansas. Beebe provided $5 million through general improvement funds, tied to a 3-to-1 match in private donations which UAMS secured. The $20 million will help pay for new labs and ongoing research at the institute.
Morgan said he would work to establish collaborations with other leading myeloma centers around the world including his current employer, the Myeloma UK Research Centre.