Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer residing in the bone which accounts for 2% of all new cancer diagnoses. Each year up to 5,500 people in the UK and 38,000 in Europe are diagnosed with myeloma, but it remains incurable for the vast majority. Although significant resources and investments have been directed at understanding the cause, diagnosis, and treatment programmes that have improved life expectancy, there is still not a known cure.
Through a generous donation, the Oxford Translational Myeloma Centre (OTMC) was announced in 2022 with the aim to develop a roadmap for personalised patient care, early diagnosis, and to explore how new therapies can be used with the ultimate goal to find a cure for myeloma cancer.
Formally launched today, the OTMC will be based at the Botnar Institute for Musculoskeletal Sciences, NDORMS. Its mission is to undertake internationally competitive research into the processes underlying multiple myeloma and related plasma cell diseases. It will be co-led by Professor Anjan Thakurta, recently appointed Chair of Translational Medicine, Professor Karthik Ramasamy, clinical lead for Myeloma in Oxford and the wider Thames Valley, and Professor Udo Oppermann, Chair in Musculoskeletal Sciences and Director of Laboratory Sciences at the Botnar Institute for Musculoskeletal Sciences.
As well as collaborations with the world-leading scientists and institutions within the University of Oxford, the Centre has forged partnerships externally with the Department of Health and government bodies, industry, Genomics England and patient groups. Together they will facilitate the success of the work on a national as well as international scale.
Commenting on the appointment Prof. Thakurta said: 'I am very happy to join the Oxford Translational Myeloma Centre to advance research efforts and their translation into the clinic to achieve better health outcomes and cure for more patients. The fantastic research infrastructure of Oxford University and a strong collaboration with the hospital/NHS provides an opportunity to create a new paradigm of translational research and myeloma patient care in the UK.'
Gavin Screaton, Head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford said: 'The Oxford Translational Myeloma Centre is uniquely placed to build on the strengths and depths in pre-clinical and clinical myeloma research within Oxford University. Partnering with other resources and institutions will be key to the OTMC's success and we will be working with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), the NHS, patient organisations as well as other public and private sector organisations to make a major and impactful change to diagnosis and treatment of myeloma for the NHS.'
Professor Jonathan Rees, Head of Department at NDORMS said: 'I believe we are about to witness a major impact in myeloma patient care as a consequence of this new translational programme at the OTMC. The world leading research conducted by the team will see improved diagnostics, the provision of personalised care and the potential cure of myeloma. These likely breakthroughs will not only lead to much improved myeloma care for patients but also more cost-effective care with potentially vast savings for the health service.'
Professor Ramasamy said: 'Personalising myeloma care has been a vision that has been long held in myeloma. By teaming with NHS colleagues, and national as well as international myeloma researchers we are set to contribute significantly to myeloma care, and ultimately to help patients suffering from this devastating disease.'
Professor Oppermann added: 'OTMC unites the essential pillars for a successful translational myeloma research effort by leveraging an excellent clinical, translational and pre-clinical research infrastructure at the Botnar Institute. Together with innovative new drug development platforms, as well as centres of excellence in haematology and cancer research across the University we will advance in our goals for better myeloma care.'