Multiple Myeloma Coverage from Every Angle

Potential of Folate-Targeted Therapies for Multiple Myeloma

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Friday, May 11, 2018

A research team from the University of Chicago set out to explore whether folate receptors (FRs)—well studied in many forms of cancer and shown to be suitable receptors for targeted therapies—are expressed in blood cancers, specifically multiple myeloma. Using immunohistochemistry and fluorescent microscopy, among other techniques, the researchers found that both FR-α and FR-β were indeed expressed, and functioning as receptors, on CD138-positive plasma cells isolated from patients with multiple myeloma.

“Folate-targeted therapies for the treatment of multiple myeloma [warrant] further investigation,” wrote Amittha Wickrema, PhD, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues, who published their results in Leukemia & Lymphoma. “FR-targeted therapeutics are likely to be highly selective and may be of clinical relevance to multiple myeloma patients.”

 The fact that FR-α and FR-β are present in cancers but rarely in normal tissue is key. “Any treatment strategies designed to target malignant cells based on folate expression likely will not adversely impact the healthy stem/early progenitor compartment,” wrote the authors. For other cancers, they noted, an FR-α monoclonal antibody and six folate-targeted drugs have been tested in human clinical trials.

With flow cytometry, the team found that overall surface expression of FR was about six times higher in bone marrow mononuclear cells derived from patients with multiple myeloma compared with those from healthy donors.

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