New method to monitor multiple myeloma treatments

27 03 2014

The Centro de Investigación del Cancer de Salamanca has developed a more sensitive procedure to detect more reliably if patients have minimal residual disease.

Mieloma Múltiple

Multiple Myeloma


Cancer Research Center (CIC) Salamanca has developed a new method that enables a more reliable way to monitor treatments against the multiple myeloma, detecting better if patients continue to have minimal residual disease, that is to say, a small amount of tumor cells that can cause a relapse. At a meeting being held today and tomorrow at the CIC, Salamanca scientists are presenting the new international experts and it is expected that within a few months it is available to laboratories around the world.


The method is based on the traditional technique of flow cytometry, that by means of light laser manages to classify cells according to their characteristics, for example, the presence of biomarkers, or substances that indicate whether a cell is pathological. The novelty is that now the CIC has developed a procedure that "has much more sensitivity, new biomarker and biomarker combinations", DiCYT explains researcher Alberto Orfao, primary responsibility for this advance.


In addition, is a very standard method, with the ability to be automated. Why, among those attending the meeting are representatives of the pharmaceutical industry of United States interested in incorporate it into clinical trials as a standardized method of monitoring and others focused on the diagnosis posed to seek the approval of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the U.S. drug agency.


The meeting was attended by about 70 people of the most active international groups in treatment and monitoring of myeloma treatment. Although it is a small number, specialists come, In addition to United States, several European countries, Singapore, Australia, United States, South Africa and Latin America. "They are strong in treatment of myeloma worldwide groups", says Orfao.


This project has been developed by a European research group coordinated from Salamanca which received funding from the International Myeloma Foundation. Although it has a duration of three years and it has only been eight months of work, "we have already practically closed method and we are sharing it", says researcher at CIC.

Scientists have other procedures to monitor treatments, but they are not standardized and do not have the same sensitivity to this. "In the preliminary data that we have, half of the patients who are negative for the test of residual disease with the method that is used today are positive with this more sensitive method", indicates Orfao. This would explain why many people fall while is not detected no trace of disease.


Path of laboratories around the world


The key is in finding new biomarkers that allow to detect tumor cells even when using new treatments that eliminate the classical biomarkers that were used to monitor the disease and that, Therefore, After the therapies already not detected.


Although the concept is already developed, the project still has more than two years ahead to achieve greater goals. First of all, It is necessary that specialized companies produce kits that allow you to use it on a massive scale throughout the world, Although this aspect is already so advanced that "it is expected in a few months be in the market as a product that can use any laboratory.". Cytognos Salamanca company participates in the development of the necessary software to move along this path.


New challenges ahead


On the other hand, researchers have new challenges ahead for further improving diagnosis and treatment monitoring. "Although we increased the maximum sensitivity of this method, We will not be able to detect disease in all cases because it only addressed the bone marrow, and there is another type of patients who do not have localized pathology in this tissue", Expert warns. Why, "we are working so that it can be detected in a sample easy, as the blood.


Researchers are already working in this direction and have registered the copyright of some concepts for four years, Although they had not obtained the necessary funding to develop them so far. In this field, CIC works closely with a group of Rotterdam (Netherlands) the team of Jesús San Miguel, that until a few months ago also worked in Salamanca and now does so from Pamplona.


By Pitcher Jose Andres [en línea] Salamanca (ESP):, 27 de marzo de 2014 [REF. 21 March of 2014] Available on Internet: http://noticias/nuevo-metodo-para-monitorizar-los-tratamientos-del-mieloma-multiple