Multiple Myeloma (MM) is generally incurable and patients will eventually develop relapsed/refractory disease. Early relapse is associated with poor clinical outcomes and overall survival. There are currently no effective markers that can predict which patients will have early relapse. The overall objective of this joint study between Dr. John Spinelli, BC Cancer and Dr. Brian Chiu, University of Chicago is to evaluate 5-hydroxymethylcytosines (5hmC) and 5-methylcytosines (5mC) in circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from MM patients as markers for predicting patients at high risk of early relapse at the time of diagnosis. Due to technological constraints, previous studies of cancer epigenetics have largely interpreted modified cytosines as 5mC only, and no study has evaluated the distinct roles of 5hmC and 5mC in the therapeutic significance for MM. To fill the current research and technical gaps and consider the high impact of developing a minimally invasive blood test for MM, we will utilize a highly sensitive and robust technique developed by our team, the nano-Seal-Seq (a chemical labeling technique integrated with the next-generation sequencing), to accurately determine 5hmC and 5mC profiles in cfDNA and CD138+ myeloma “cancer” cells from bone marrow. Collected data and plasma samples will be sent to Dr, Chiu's lab for data and cytogenetic analysis.
Co-investigator, Canada: Dr. John Spinelli