The National Cancer Institute has awarded the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences an additional $2.3 million for the continuation of a study of multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that impacts plasma cells in bones.
Researchers Teresita Bellido and Jesus Delgado-Calle, professors in the UAMS College of Medicine, are the recipients of the award. The National Cancer Institute awarded an initial grant for the study in 2017.
The objective of the research is to determine the role of osteocytes, the most abundant type of bone cells living within mineralized bone, in a multiple myeloma tumor environment. That environment consists of the environment around the tumor, including blood vessels and healthy immune cells.
The grant will use genetic and pharmacological approaches to investigate growth of the cancer, an associated bone disease and resistance to chemotherapy. "Results from these studies will pave the road for the development of new therapeutic interventions targeting osteocytes," UAMS said in a news release.
"It is exciting to continue working on this project. We were very productive in the first cycle of this grant and established a paradigm shift in the field of cancer in bone by showing that osteocytes cells buried within the bone mineral are part of the niche that regulates multiple myeloma cancer growth," Bellido said in a statement.
"These funds will allow us to study the consequences of interrupting the communication between myeloma cancer cells and osteocytes on tumor growth, bone disease and resistance to chemotherapy, Delgado-Calle said in a statement.