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Modeling Renal Injury in Multiple Myeloma

By: Lauren Harrison, MS
Posted: Monday, March 11, 2019

A team of researchers, led by Julia C. Walk, PhD, of Concordia College in Minnesota, has developed a mathematical model to understand the qualitative behavior of renal injury in patients with multiple myeloma. Published in Scientific Reports, this model attempts to elucidate what happens inside the kidneys as the proximal tubule is destroyed as a result of free light chains produced by multiple myeloma cells.

“Success would provide clinicians with a valuable tool with genuine prognostic and predictive capabilities,” suggested the authors.

This model of ordinary differential equations was created using modified power law approximations and information about the populations of renal fibroblasts, free light chains, proximal tubule cells, and tumor cells. These equations are consistent with biologic knowledge, showing that as the number of tumor cells increases, the number of free light chains increases, and proximal tubule cells decrease. The model suggests that when the free light chain populations reach 500 mg/L (commonly used as a threshold for kidney damage), the proximal tubule cell population decreases to 40% to 50% of the original population.

The researchers noted that the equations were created using simplifications, such as just four-cell populations or other factors influencing renal function. In addition, they hope to create increasingly accurate models to assist in the understanding of renal failure in patients with multiple myeloma.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at

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