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A new treatment for myeloma

Myeloma is a blood cancer of the plasma cells which is difficult to treat. Dr Alanna Green is testing a new drug called karonudib which she hopes will be effective in treating myeloma.

Headshot of Dr Alanna Green smiling.

Dr Alanna Green


The challenge

Myeloma is a type of blood cancer that affects plasma cells (a type of white blood cell). The disease affects nearly 6,000 people each year in the UK. Currently myeloma has no cure, but existing treatments such as chemotherapy can help keep the disease at bay but some myeloma cells become dormant, which means the cancer cells still enter a ‘sleepy state’, which means they aren’t targeted by chemotherapy.

The project

Dr Green wants to find a treatment that targets all myeloma cells, even the ones in a ‘sleepy state’. Her and her team have developed a drug called karonudib which targets these ‘sleepy’ myeloma cells. This means that when people receive this drug alongside other drugs already used to treat myeloma, all the cancer cells should be wiped out. Dr Green and her team want to test whether karonudib works for people, by conducting experiments in the lab on myeloma cells from people with the disease to see if it could be an effective treatment. They also want to test and see if this new drug can treat myeloma that has come back and will study this in further experiments in the lab.

The future

If this new drug looks successful in experiments in the lab on myeloma cells, Dr Green hopes to carry out a clinical trial where she will give karonudib to people whose myeloma has returned. Ultimately this could mean a future where there is a new and better treatment for people with myeloma, getting us closer to a day where no lives are lost to blood cancer.