Prior to 2003, there was almost no multiple myeloma (MM) research ongoing at UW-Madison. However, the Trillium Fund was established that year by several generous patients to support myeloma research at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. In 2004, Dr. Natalie Callander was recruited to the UW-Madison and the Multiple Myeloma Working Group was established. Now, the MM working group is vibrant with physician scientists, pathologists, and basic scientists working together to improve our understanding of the disease and to develop new treatment approaches. Members receive multi-investigator grants from National Cancer Institute and other agencies to support research activities. Since the formation of the MM working group, the members of the group have held many seminar presentations for patients, their family members and friends over the years with topics ranging from basic discoveries to clinical trials to new therapeutic options.
On November 9 this year, the MM working group held “UWCCC Multiple Myeloma Update” seminars for over 200 patient participants with topics including clinical trials update (Dr. Callander), mind-body influences on myeloma (Dr. Constanzo), immunotherapy (Dr. Hall), predicting drug responses (Dr. Miyamoto), anti-myeloma immunity (Dr. Asimakopoulos), minimal residual disease (Dr. Leith), synstatin drugs (Dr. Rapraeger), microbiome influence (Dr. D’Angelo), and novel cell therapies (Dr. Hematti). This morning seminar session was followed by lunch and tours of the bone marrow transplantation clinic (Dr. Hematti) and WIMR labs (Drs. Asimakopoulos and Miyamoto). Many of the participants took the opportunity to take these tours and asked questions regarding basic and clinical research and how their myeloma biopsies and samples are utilized to learn the biology of the disease and to develop new therapeutics. Overall, this public event was highly successful and the MM group is looking forward to continuing to host future events to inform the patients on ongoing multiple myeloma research at UW-Madison and to provide up-to-date information on MM therapy.
-Dr. Shigeki Miyamoto