Despite recent progress in cancer research, the ability to treat and prevent plasma-cell (PC) myeloma, the second most common hematologic cancer in the United States, remains severely limited. Addressing the current limitations will require additional research efforts, including projects that will lead to an enhanced understanding of the genetic pathways underlying malignant PC transformation. The long-term goal of this research program is to improve the outcome of myeloma and related PC neoplasms. The main objective of the proposed research, which represents an important step towards attaining the long-term goal, is to gain insight into the genetic pathways that drive PC transformation. Our central hypothesis is that unbiased genetic forward screening in mice that are genetically prone to PC malignancy will uncover candidate cancer driver genes that can be evaluated across the mouse-human species barrier in order to detect and validate orthologous driver genes in human PC tumors. Three specific research aims are proposed to test the central hypothesis and achieve the main objective of this application.
Aims 1 and 2 are concerned with identifying candidate cancer driver genes in retrovirus- and transposon-based cancer screens in the iMyc?E? transgenic mouse, a gene-insertion model of the Myc-activating T(12;15) translocation in mouse plasmacytoma.
Aim 3 is devoted to validating the newly discovered driver genes, including the involvement of their human orthologs in human PC tumors. The studies in Aim 1 will rely on a modified Moloney murine leukemia virus, MOL4070LTR. The studies in Aim 2 will take advantage of a double-transgenic Sleeping Beauty (SB) somatic mutagenesis system that uses the inducible transposase, SB11, to unleash the mutagenic transposon, T2/Onc2, in PCs. The studies in Aim 3 will first employ bioinformatics tools for gene validation, and then follow up with biochemical, molecular genetic and biological methods to assess the potential of selected driver genes as new targets for cancer therapy and prevention. Supported by strong preliminary results that provide a sound rationale for this application, the proposed research is poised to facilitate novel targeted approaches to the therapy and prevention of PC neoplasia.

Public Health Relevance

Plasma-cell myeloma, commonly known as multiple myeloma, is the most prevalent and fatal plasma-cell neoplasia and the second-most common hematologic malignancy worldwide. The research proposed here will take advantage of two complementary, unbiased, genetic-forward screenings in a Myc-transgenic mouse model of human plasma-cell neoplasia to enhance our understanding of the genetic pathways underlying malignant plasma-cell transformation and inspire new targeted approaches to the treatment and prevention of human plasma-cell neoplasms.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Cancer Genetics Study Section (CG)
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Howcroft, Thomas K
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University of Iowa
Schools of Medicine
Iowa City
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