Three projects anchor the Washington University Center for Multiple Myeloma Nanotherapy (CMMN).
- Project One: optimizing delivery of novel prodrugs via nanotechnology to improve safety and efficacy in multiple myeloma (MM) treatment. It is directed by Gregory Lanza, MD, professor of medicine and biomedical engineering, and by Michael Tomasson, MD, professor of medicine.
- Project Two: investigating novel, light-based therapies powered by nano-photosensitive drugs. It is directed by Samuel Achilefu, PhD, professor of radiology.
- Project Three: improving the understanding of the biological impact of nanotechnology in MM. It is directed by John DiPersio, MD, professor of medicine, pathology and immunology.
Myeloma is a type of cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue found inside the inner part of some of our large bones. The bone marrow produces different types of blood cells.
Myeloma can develop wherever there are plasma cells. So it can be anywhere there is bone marrow, including the pelvis, spine and ribcage. As it can occur in several places in the body, it is often called multiple myeloma.
Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology, ranging from the medical applications of nanomaterials and biological devices, to nanoelectronic biosensors, and even possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology such as biological machines.
Current problems for nanomedicine involve understanding the issues related to toxicity and environmental impact of nanoscale materials (materials whose structure is on the scale of nanometers, i.e. billionths of a meter).
Despite tremendous improvements in patient management, nearly all multiple myeloma (MM) patients will eventually relapse and die from it. Leveraging the enormous institutional resources and support, diverse expertise in MM, the integral participation of patient advocates, industry partners, and synergistic integration of basic and clinical investigators, the CMMN will serve as a comprehensive center for the development of nanotechnology-based solutions for treating MM and bone metastasis.