Exosomal communication in Multiple Myeloma: friend or foe?

Project Details


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a blood cancer affecting around 25000 new patients yearly in the EU. The introduction of new therapies has led to a strong increase in survival. However, relapse of the disease remains problematic, indicating that solely targeting the MM cells is insufficient. MM cells interact with the surrounding bone marrow (BM) to receive pro-survival signals, thereby resisting drug therapy. Recently it has been shown that tumor cells can interact through the secretion of small vesicles named exosomes. These vesicles can carry different cargo and play a role in pro-tumoral processes. Since exosomes contain membrane parts of the cell of origin, screening the blood of cancer patients for tumor derived exosomes could be a way of finding novel biomarkers. In this project we will use in WP1 a lipidomic approach to screen MM-derived exosomes for their lipid content to identify biomarkers. We will also investigate how these exosomes modulate the BM to create a nurturing niche for tumor development. In WP2 we will determine if blocking exosome secretion leads to a reduction in tumor growth. Finally in WP3 we wish to use exosomes as delivery vehicle for a-galactosylceramide, an antigen currently used as immunotherapy to boost the immune system through NKT cells. Encapsulating antigens within exosomes could improve their efficiency. These studies will improve our understanding of the pathobiology of MM, and may lead to the identification of biomarkers and novel treatments.
Effective start/end date1/10/1530/09/19


  • Multiple Myeloma

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Immunology not elsewhere classified


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