Dr Kate Vandyke

A new strategy to treat multiple myeloma

Kate, a lecturer and researcher at the University of Adelaide and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), researches multiple myeloma (MM) - an incurable blood cancer that claims around 80,000 people globally each year.

When somebody contracts the disease, cancer cells spread through the bone marrow in their skeleton via a process that scientists don’t yet fully understand.

Kate and her fellow researchers believe that limiting such a spread presents a “tantalising therapeutic opportunity.”

The research

Data the team have already collected implicates a protein known as CCR1 as a key driver in causing MM to migrate around the body. In this project, researchers will assess the effectiveness of a new drug that blocks CCR1.

“The availability of existing drugs targeting CCR1 that have been used to treat other diseases means that, if we’re successful, the translation of our results to the clinic should be relatively rapid,” she says.

Importantly, the results are likely to apply to other cancer treatments as well.

Funding support

Kate has already worked on several projects focused on regulating myeloma dissemination and its interactions with bone marrow. Funding from Cure Cancer Australia will enable her to build on this solid base.

“Without an established track record in obtaining research grants, it can be near impossible to get one’s foot in the door in many funding schemes,” she says.

“That’s one reason Cure Cancer Australia grants are highly competitive, as reflected in the high calibre of their recipients. I’m honoured to have been selected – I view it as one of my greatest career achievements to date!”

Kate is married with three young children. When not working she enjoys good food and wine, and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Kate is funded by Cure Cancer Australia through the Cancer Australia Priority-driven Cancer Support Scheme. Kate is supported by Cure Cancer Australia through the Arthur Byrne Foundation Grant

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