New myeloma drug targets the NF-kappaB pathway

I just read about a new experimental drug called DPT3 that can kill myeloma cells by targeting a protein complex called GADDA45beta/MKK7, which is very active in myeloma and is tied to the NF-kappaB signalling pathway, a pathway that I’ve written many posts about in the past (just do a search of my blog).

Now, since I began my myeloma journey (by the way, I’ve had smoldering myeloma now for more than NINE years, yaaaaay!), I’ve learned not to get overly excited about promising new myeloma treatments, which often seem to vanish into thin air. In this case, however, I must admit that I am intrigued and want to follow any future developments…and here’s why:

This drug, developed by a European research team, apparently has NO TOXIC SIDE EFFECTS. The researchers found that it harms only myeloma cells, NOT normal, healthy cells, which, as we know, is a huge problem in conventional myeloma treatment. And that is what I find exciting — the fact that this new drug seems to leave healthy cells alone while killing off myeloma cells.

Now, I should note that the drug has thus far been tested only on mice and myeloma cells in a lab setting, so we don’t know how it will behave when tested on humans. Human clinical trials are set to begin only at the end of 2015. Bummer. More waiting.

In the meantime, you can read more about it here (this is the “plain language” summary): http://goo.gl/dK8P3s

The study is available for free online at this link: http://goo.gl/VaqYaZ (click on “PDF 2.9 MB” to view the full study). Here’s an interesting excerpt: myeloma patients who, at diagnosis, have high levels of the above-mentioned GADD45beta/MKK7 have “significantly shorter overall survival” compared to myeloma patients who have lower levels of this stuff…even if they have all had the exact same conventional treatments. This means that there is a “strong correlation between GADD45B expression and disease progression,” and the researchers have now linked GADD45B to “more aggressive disease.” Ugh.

I have to confess that I haven’t had the time to read the full study yet…I just had a quick glance here and there…All I can say right now is that it’s way too early to crack open the bubbly, but…yes, it’s all very interesting…

So…let’s keep our fingers crossed! :)