Mr Ankit Dutta
Researcher: Ankit Dutta
of Adelaide, School of Medical
Project title: Identifying the genetic changes
with disease progression in myeloma
Disease focus: Myeloma
Annual Funding: $40,000
Funding period: 2015-2017
In almost every case, the incurable blood cancer, myeloma, develops from a benign disease known as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). Researchers at the University of Adelaide believe complex genetic changes drive MGUS to develop into myeloma.
Based at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), in the Myeloma Research Laboratory, under the supervision of Professor Andrew Zannettino and Dr Duncan Hewett,, PhD candidate Ankit Dutta is identifying important genetic changes involved in the transition of MGUS to myeloma.
In Australia, about 3% of the population aged over 50 years (more than 200,000 people) have MGUS. However, with the disease causing no symptoms it remains untreated. Each year people with MGUS have a 1% risk of progressing to myeloma.
To date, the genetic factors driving the progression from asymptomatic MGUS to myeloma are unknown.
Ankit is using next-generation sequencing methods to analyse a rare collection of paired bone marrow samples; taken from 25 patients when they were first diagnosed with MGUS and then later when they developed myeloma.
“I’m looking for gene expression changes critical in causing MGUS to develop into myeloma. This information will help us identify biomarkers that can predict which people are prone to developing myeloma,” said Ankit.
“Ultimately, we are hoping to develop new treatments to delay or cure the disease at the MGUS stage.”