The investigators are Associate Professor Jake Shortt (Lead Applicant, SCS Monash Health), Prof Andrew Spencer (ACBD, CCS/Alfred), A/Prof John Reynolds, Prof Ricky Johnstone, Dr Hang Quach, Dr George Grigoriadis, Dr Anna Kalff, Dr Tiffany Khong, Dr Patricia Walker, and A/Prof David Powell.
The group will receive funding of $1,974,342 over 36 months for their research into immune system treatment of myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow plasma cell.
Recent advances have been made using treatments that stimulate the immune system to remove these cancerous plasma cells. The consortium has developed a treatment called MDX1097 that recognizes and binds only to cancerous plasma cells. Cells coated with MDX1097 then become visible to the immune system. Thalidomide is very useful in myeloma as it kills cancerous plasma cells while also stimulating the immune system. They will combine a thalidomide derivative with MDX1097 in a clinical trial for Victorian myeloma patients.