Multiple myeloma (MM) is a deadly hematological cancer, characterized by an uncontrollable accumulation of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow. Yearly, approximately 800 patients are diagnosed with MM in Belgium. Despite the considerable progress in MM treatment, current therapies are faced with debilitating side effects and the vast majority of patients eventually relapsing. Worryingly, due to the increase in the ageing population, the MM incidence in Europe is predicted to rise with approximately 29% to a number of more than 62,000 patients by 2040.
Synthetic glucocorticoids (GCs), such as dexamethasone and prednisolone, are essential drugs in the myeloma treatment cocktail as they induce apoptosis of MM cells by activating the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Yet, prolonged treatment is associated with adverse side effects and GC-resistance, which hamper patients' quality of life. Hence, development of innovative glucocorticoid-based treatment strategies is crucial to optimize the use of GCs in MM treatment. In this regard, we envisage the exploration of a recently discovered alternative mode of action involving the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) to circumvent the aforementioned issues regarding current GC-based MM therapies, and to improve the glucocorticoid efficacy. The expertise of two labs (prof. K. De Bosscher: MM biology and prof. M. D’hooghe: organic synthesis) will be combined in order to develop an innovative therapeutic opportunity against MM.
Contact & links
- Lab address: SynBioC Research Group, B Building, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent