Translational Research at the Institute of Cancer Research

In 2008, we funded the first translational myeloma research centre at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London.

Although treatment for Multiple Myeloma has improved over the last 10 years it still remains an incurable disease. Current treatments can have an adverse effect on patients and there is a need to develop more effective and kinder treatments for Multiple Myeloma patients.

Recent studies have shown that Multiple Myeloma is not a single cancer but rather a group of diseases with Multiple Myeloma cells carrying different gene mutations. These genetic differences can have a profound effect on patient outcomes. Discovering these genetic defects and understanding how they affect tumours means patients could receive treatments tailored to them. It will also enable the development of new drugs and provide data to support drug access approvals.

This programme has been developed as a portfolio of inter-related projects to: gain a better understanding of how myeloma develops, progresses, and how it can be better treated. The research capitalises on the donation of bone marrow material that patients have provided over several years as part of trials and exploits state of the art genome analyses coupled with intelligent drug design.

The Programme Grant at the ICR is led by Professor Richard Houlston and Dr Martin Kaiser


Award Value
£432,459 for year 1 of 5-year project

Jacquelin Forbes-Nixon Fellowship

The inaugural Jacquelin Forbes-Nixon Fellowship is held by Dr Martin Kaiser at the Institute of Cancer research

Genome sequencing in multiple myeloma has identified some mutations and what drives these mutations, but it doesn’t fully explain the diversity of the disease and importantly why some patients are refractory (resistant) to current therapies.
Sequencing projects have focused almost exclusively on protein-coding mutations; this project aims to look at non-protein coding mutation to identify and characterise mutations in the genome, which drive the development of refractory Multiple Myeloma.
The research will undertake genome sequencing and generate multi-omics data on Multiple Myeloma patients with refractory disease. By integrating multiple data types we will define a set of top-ranking drivers to understand their biology and clinical impact.

Dr Kaiser is chief investigator of the national OPTIMUM trial, which offers tailored therapy for patients with molecular high-risk disease. He is active member of the UK NCRI group, the UK Myeloma Research Alliance (UKMRA) network and the UK Myeloma Forum and serves as principal or co-investigator for several national and international myeloma trials.

Award Value