Multiple myeloma is an aggressive and incurable blood cancer with median life expectancy only 5 years. Thus, therapeutic strategies targeting hitherto unexplored biological processes in these cancers require investigation for the possibility that an entirely new therapeutic approach will be discovered. One such recently discovered and unexplored biological process is a cell death mechanism termed ferroptosis. We have shown that multiple myeloma cells can die from ferroptosis and we now aim to develop an entirely new class of treatments for multiple myeloma that take advantage of ferroptosis. We are developing liposome therapies that seek out, or target, the multiple myeloma cells in the body, change their fat content, and induce their death by ferroptosis. This “cancer targeting” approach maximises specific cancer cell killing by ferroptosis and minimises unwanted side effects.
Not only does this research proposal have significant clinical potential with the development of therapeutics that induce ferroptosis but it will also significantly contribute to biological science by increasing our knowledge and understanding of an entirely new way that cells can die and how it relates to cancers such as multiple myeloma. Overall, our research has the potential to both advance science and save lives.