Target bone marrow cancer cells


In a groundbreaking development in the fight against myeloma, Israeli researchers have developed a targeted procedure to effectively destroy cancer within bone marrow.

Myeloma, also known as “multiple myeloma,” is a cancer of the plasma cells, which are produced inside bone marrow. As cancer spreads within the bone marrow of myeloma patients, the body’s cells that normally produce both red and white blood cells, as well as platelets, are disrupted. White blood cells in particular play a key role in producing antibodies that protect people from infection.

Most people are diagnosed around age 70. It’s not known what causes it, but family history is a known risk factor. Anyone exposed to radiation or to carcinogens such as pesticides, benzene and asbestos is thought to be at higher risk as well.

Myeloma has no cure. Once diagnosed, patients can live five to ten years, some even for 20, but this depends on effective treatment to manage the cancer. Currently, it is treated with steroids, bone-modifying drugs and chemotherapy.

But a team of researchers from Tel Aviv University and Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva have discovered a method of destroying cancer cells inside the bone marrow with a targeted system using an RNA-based drug delivered to the cells by targeted lipid nanoparticles. The team’s research and findings were published in Advanced Science, a peer-reviewed journal, on Thursday.