Immunomodulation in multiple myeloma

Closing date: 25/03/2024

MB-PhD Project: Immunomodulation in multiple myeloma 

Lead Supervisors: Prof. Caroline Dive
Dr David Millrine; Dr Emma Searle

Applications Deadline: Monday 25 March 2024

Project Keywords: Myeloma, Immunology, Biomarkers
Research Opportunity: Intercalated PhD, leading to the award of PhD and MBChB

The project supervisor is offering a PhD in the below area during 2024/2025. Work during the Summer Placement might involve some of this work but could vary.

Project Outline

Multiple myeloma is a devastating B-cell malignancy for which there is no cure. The development of immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) has proved transformative to multiple myeloma care, however, their remain unanswered questions related to the mechanism of action of this important drug class. Key among these, it is currently uncertain whether modulation of the immune system contributes to IMiD efficacy in multiple myeloma. Instead, this is thought to occur via cancer-intrinsic processes.

This project will apply flow cytometric analysis to elucidate contributions of the immune system to the IMiD mechanism of action in multiple myeloma and by extension, identify biomarkers of IMiD response. There will be opportunities to answer key questions related to the therapeutic efficacy of IMiDs when used in combination with other frontline therapies including immunotherapy and proteasome inhibition. 

Unresolved questions include: 

  • Does the immune system contribute to the efficacy of IMiDs in multiple myeloma?
  • Why do IMiDs show synergy with proteasome inhibitors?
  • How do these properties intersect with emerging immunotherapies?

In parallel, the CRUK Cancer Biomarker Centre (CBC), in collaboration with an industry partner and Consultant Haematologist Dr Emma Searle (the student’s clinical mentor) is embarking on a major program of research that seeks to improve patient outcomes in multiple myeloma through the identification of early-stage biomarkers. The MB-PhD fellow will be integrated with an established team of CBC-based immunologists who are pioneering immune-oncology biomarkers across a spectrum of cancers. They will work closely with collaborators at The NHS Christie Foundation Haematological Treatment Unit (HTU) where access to leading clinicians enables outstanding translational science ground in patient derived (physiological) samples. Emerging from this program of research the fellow will be fully versed in cutting edge translational science and competent to lead research programs in the immune-oncology field. 

About Prof. Caroline Dive (project Lead Supervisor)

Upon completing her PhD studies in Cambridge, Professor Caroline Dive moved to Aston University’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Birmingham where she established her own group studying mechanisms of drug induced tumour cell death, before moving to The University of Manchester to continue this research. Caroline was awarded a Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine Research Fellowship before joining the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute (CRUK MI) in 2003.

Currently, she is Interim Director of the Institute and Director of its Cancer Biomarker Centre, with research spanning tumour biology, biomarker discovery and preclinical pharmacology alongside regulated laboratories for biomarker assay validation and qualification within clinical trials to Good Clinical Practice standards supporting clinical decision-making.

Headshot of Prof. Caroline Dive

About the lab group

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Caroline Dive and her lab group

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Key information

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