Florida Trend: Finding New Therapies to Treat Myeloma

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H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
–Moffitt researchers use tumor database to help patients

Genetically-based, evidence-based personalized treatment for every patient with any form of cancer. A mere dream? No. The Moffitt Total Cancer Care ™ initiative is working to make it a reality as physician-scientists seek to deliver personalized therapy using tumor gene expression profiles to better understand tumors and identify subsets of patients that may be appropriate for selected drugs.

While the approach is being applied to numerous forms of cancer, the concept of personalized medicine will be a particular benefit for the 20,520 people in the U.S. estimated to be diagnosed with myeloma during 2011. Despite novel therapies for myeloma, there is still no cure for this relatively uncommon cancer that affects cells within the bone marrow. Nor do scientists know what causes the disease.

A goal of Moffitt’s Department of Malignant Hematology is to collect retrospective data for patients with hematologic malignancies, build a prospective database within the larger Total Cancer Care™ database and tissue bank, and within that framework establish a tissue bank specifically for malignant hematologic disease such as myeloma.

“While we currently have therapies which are safer and more effective for many patients with myeloma, those agents do not cure the disease, and ultimately drug resistance develops. Accordingly, there remains an ongoing need to develop new therapies able to overcome drug resistance and that will have fewer side effects, improve a patient’s quality of life and prevent complications,” says Rachid Baz, M.D., who leads the Myeloma Section of Moffitt’s Malignant Hematology Program. “These therapies can allow patients to treat their cancer as a chronic disease.”

Dr. Baz’s team is using Total Cancer Care’s system to gather and study myeloma samples in an effort to discover why myeloma cells are resistant to treatment and how to overcome this resistance.

“As a first step, we need to build a large database and tissue bank, and our department has already implemented the electronic medical record pilot, developed staging modules for hematologic tumors, and built-in response capture tools, as well as side-effects capture tools for discreet data,” Dr. Baz says.

“We have learned that myeloma is not a single entity and that distinct subtypes may respond differentially to treatment. Hence, a need exists to develop targeted, personalized therapy for these myeloma subtypes. Total Cancer Care™ can help us distinguish which subtype a specific patient has, and based on that we can infer what therapy might be effective. The ultimate goal is to ‘match’ that patient with a clinical trial based on his or her myeloma subtype,” says Dr. Baz.

Much of the translational research m the area of malignant hematology at Moffitt is enhanced by funding through the Susan and John Sykes Endowed Chair in Hematologic Malignancies, led by Eduardo Sotomayor, M.D., who leads Moffitt’s Malignant Hematology Program.

For more information on Moffitt Cancer Center’s Total Cancer Care™ approach, visit www.moffitt.org/totalcancercare or call l-888-MOFFITT.

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:32+00:00 September 1st, 2011|Categories: Blog, Samples|Tags: , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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