UAMS Researcher Delgado-Calle Awarded $1.7 Million to Study Bone Health in Myeloma Patients

By Linda Haymes

Multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the blood, causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow where they can form weak spots in the bone, leading to breaks and fractures.

The project focuses on bone health in myeloma patients and the effectiveness of bone therapies to block crucial interactions between cancer cells and a tumor’s microenvironment.

“The goal is to slow tumor growth, control dormant cancer cells, repair bone damaged by the disease, and avoid some of the toxic effects of chemotherapy within the body’s systems,” Delgado-Calle said.

The project could provide new ways to guide the development of therapies to prevent or delay relapse in myeloma patients and improve their bone health.

“We will study the effectiveness of a novel bone-targeted drug designed by our lab to interrupt the signaling pathway between cancer cells and tumor’s microenvironment to decrease tumor growth and relapse of the disease,” Delgado-Calle said.

The researchers will also examine the ability to promote bone repair of a neutralizing antibody against sclerostin, a small protein that prevents the rebuilding of bone and is overproduced in bones where myeloma cancer cells are present.

”We will test whether a combination of those two bone-directed agents given together decreases tumor growth, prevents or delays relapse and encourages bone repair,” Delgado-Calle said.