Genome Map of Multiple Myeloma Offers Clues to Its Cause

Scientist says effort may lead to new ways to treat the blood cancer

WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- The genome of the highly aggressive blood cancer multiple myeloma has been mapped by a team of North American scientists, who say their achievement will improve understanding of what causes the disease and may lead to new treatments.

"For the first time, we are able to see on a molecular basis what might be causing this malignancy," Dr. David S. Siegel, chief of the multiple myeloma division at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, said in a news release from the center.

"We already know what causes many types of cancer, but until now, we had few clues to the causes of myeloma," he added.

He and colleagues from 20 major research institutions examined genomes of both tumor and normal blood cells in 38 people with multiple myeloma.

"We have developed the most comprehensive molecular picture of myeloma to date, which will provide a public resource of genomic information for this disease," Siegel said. "This is a large step forward in personalized medicine for the treatment of multiple myeloma. My hope is that this will allow us to develop more targeted, effective therapies."

Their findings are reported in the March 24 issue of Nature.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about multiple myeloma.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: John Theurer Cancer Center, news release, March 23, 2011

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