UAMS researcher awarded $1.7 million to study bone health in myeloma patients

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Jesus Delgado-Calle, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, has been awarded a National Cancer Institute grant of more than $1.7 million to study bone health in myeloma patients and the effectiveness of bone therapies. Image by Bryan E. Clifton

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- A researcher with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) receives a National Cancer Institute grant of more than $1.7 million.

According to a news release sent Wednesday, Jesus Delgado-Calle, Ph.D., an assistant professor at UAMS, was given the grant to study ways bone therapy might repair damaged bone and prevent or delay relapse in myeloma patients.

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 breakage and fractures.

According to UAMS officials, 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.

Officials say 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.

Researchers will also look at 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.

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