At the Conference of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), there is a huge room filled with rows and rows of poster boards, showing posters on both sides. Hundreds (thousands?) of posters, and they are changed every day to a new set of posters. Each poster shows the work of a researcher or perhaps an entire research center.
I walk through those in a bit of a daze, with no idea which poster might represent a future treatment. Some posters show the results of long studies providing valuable information, and some are just good ideas that seem to work in concept but eventually may not work out. But one of those good ideas caught my eye, titled Myeloma Exhibits Dependence on Atypical Glucose Transporters: Targeting MCL-1 Through GLUT4 Inhibition.
I’m not a medical researcher and most of the medical terms mean nothing to me, of course, but the story here is that it may be possible to starve the sugar-hungry myeloma cells by finding a drug that targets GLUT4, one of several glucose transporters. When that is done, the cells die. To prove the concept, they used an FDA-approved HIV drug called ritonavir, which inhibits GLUT4 as a side effect of other actions.
The researcher, Mala Shanmugam, PhD, of Northwestern University, believes that it might be possible to develop a drug which would target GLUT4 directly.
Here is yet another avenue of attack on myeloma. We’ve seen a “cornucopia of new therapies” already, and there are more on the horizon, including this one. There is a LOT of hope here – please do stay alive for it!
Typical poster, one of zillions: