Research programme: Using computer technology to uncover ways to overcome treatment resistance

Principal investigator: Dr Ian Overton

Institution: Queen’s University, Belfast

Award amount: £240,000

Duration: 3 Years

Project status: Active

Using computer technology to uncover ways to overcome treatment resistance

Although treatment options for myeloma have improved significantly in recent years, myeloma remains incurable. Even after successful treatment, almost all patients eventually become resistant to existing treatments. New drugs and treatment approaches are urgently needed to prevent or overcome treatment resistance.

This research project aims to uncover how and why myeloma cells become resistant to treatment.

The research team will use computer technology, including cutting-edge algorithms, to analyse new data and existing patient data to create a map of the molecular differences between non-resistant and resistant myeloma cells. This will uncover what is happening at a cellular level to cause treatment resistance.

It will focus on understanding resistance to first-line treatments, in particular proteasome inhibitors (bortezomib (Velcade®)), in patients with three common genetic subtypes of myeloma.

Understanding how myeloma cells change as they become resistant helps us understand how they escape the effects of the anti-myeloma drugs. Therefore, this research could help find weaknesses we can target with new or re-purposed drugs to make treatment more effective.

How this research project will help myeloma patients

This work will help identify new drugs or treatment approaches to overcome resistance to existing treatments. This work should also lead to clinical trials with the new treatments, ultimately increasing life expectancy.

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