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Tackling the problem of late myeloma diagnosis

Principal investigator: Professor Chris Bunce

Institution: University of Birmingham

Award amount: £240,000

Duration: 4 Years

Project status: Active

An interdisciplinary approach to tackling the problem of late myeloma diagnosis

Early diagnosis is key to ensuring myeloma patients have the best possible treatment options and quality of life. This is because as myeloma advances, it becomes harder to treat and more likely to cause complications, such as kidney failure and spinal compression.

Although there are tests for myeloma there are several challenges to implementing a national screen programme.

This research grant will support two four-year PhD students at the University of Birmingham to help address two of the main barriers to a myeloma screening programme.

The first PhD student will research the biology of MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance). They will identify and study the cells MGUS originates from to discover potential ways of preventing or slowing down the development of myeloma.

The second PhD student will develop a computer programme that can process and sort large qualities of patient data to better identify the MGUS patients at risk of developing myeloma.

How this research project will help myeloma patients

A screening programme for myeloma will also find people with MGUS. MGUS patients must live with the uncertainty of potentially developing cancer once diagnosed because they have a slight increased risk of developing myeloma. However, most of them won’t develop myeloma.

These PhD studentships will help us identify better ways to support any MGUS patients identified as part of a screening programme.

This will help make a national screening programme more feasible.