Broadcast: News items

Search for blood cancer cure receives University funding

It is hoped that the Mancini Lab will now be able to identify small molecules that block the action of IRF4, therefore killing the myeloma cells.

A researcher has received funding from the University of Sussex to help discover a cure for an aggressive and incurable type of blood cancer; multiple myeloma.

Dr Erika Mancini received over £19,000 from the University’s Research Development Fund and her work is particularly timely, given September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

This time of year is used to further raise awareness of the key issues affecting the 240,000 people in the UK living with blood cancer, and Dr Mancini hopes her work will lead to treatments for one of the more aggressive, and difficult to detect, types.

She said: “It is really important that we raise awareness of blood cancer; it has recently been reported that more than half of British adults could not name any symptoms, despite it being one of the more common cancers. Blood Cancer Awareness Month and the work of advocates, such as Dame Kelly Holmes whose mum died from myeloma, is vital. We need to make blood cancer more visible so people can recognise the signs and seek help faster.

“There is also an urgent need to develop new targeted treatments. We hope this money will allow us to gather preliminary data so we can submit further grants to fund our search for a multiple myeloma cure.”

Multiple myeloma is an aggressive blood cancer, arising from plasma cells (a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow). While there are treatments available to control it and alleviate symptoms, there is currently no cure.

Symptoms of multiple myeloma include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, night sweats, bone/joint pain, headaches, shortness of breath and itchy skin.

Dr Mancini, along with PhD student Alessandro Agnarelli and BSMS researcher Tim Chevassut, have recently written a review paper to gather evidence on the role of a protein called IRF4 on the development of the disease.

It is hoped that the Mancini Lab will now be able to identify small molecules that block the action of IRF4, therefore killing the myeloma cells. This could then lead to the creation of drugs to specifically target the cancer.


By: Jessica Gowers
Last updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Share: