Posted 4 June 2024

Support medical research and life-changing discoveries

At the age of 50, Richard, a fit and active geologist who had explored the globe extensively and recently launched his own business, received life-altering news.   

During a casual dinner with friends, he felt a mild pain in his leg, followed a few days later by a dull ache in his chest, culminating in a hospital visit.  

Following several days of rigorous testing, he received a diagnosis: multiple myeloma. 

His treatment plan involved a multifaceted approach, combining chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplantation. Despite their initial effectiveness, Richard developed resistance to these treatments, and experienced significant side effects that noticeably impacted his quality of life.  

Early detection of myeloma 

Associate Professor Elaine Sanij, Head of SVI’s DNA Damage & Cancer Therapy Lab, leads SVI’s research into multiple myeloma. She says that the symptoms of the disease can vary among individuals, and often, there are no obvious signs in the early stages of the disease. 

Despite the breakthroughs made in the detection of many types of cancer, we have yet to achieve the same progress for multiple myeloma. 

Accurate diagnosis still relies on invasive procedures like bone marrow biopsies. And in many cases, by the time these tests are conducted, the cancer has often progressed, making it more challenging to treat effectively.   

There have been significant strides in the development of treatments for multiple myeloma, with 19 new therapeutics FDA-approved over the last 20 years.    

“Whilst these mark exciting progress, there are currently no established guidelines that enable identification of which specific patients, disease stages, or combinations of these new therapies maybe most beneficial,” says Associate Professor Sanij. 

 This is largely due to the lack of understanding of mechanisms of response or resistance to emerging therapies.

Difficulties with diagnosis 

Currently, blood tests that detect antibodies made by abnormal plasma cells are used to help diagnose and track myeloma progression. However, an invasive, uncomfortable, and expensive bone marrow biopsy is required to reveal the stage of the disease and identify how it might be responding to therapy.  

For Australians to benefit from innovative treatments, blood-based biomarkers that can accurately inform and guide personalised treatments and monitor their efficacy must be developed. 

To offer a more targeted, and potentially lifesaving approach to treating multiple myeloma patients like Richard, our researchers need your help.  

Your support is crucial to the success of this research

Every dollar counts in the battle against multiple lyeloma. With your support, we can fund critical research efforts aimed at developing a more precise and less invasive way to detect it, assess its progression and evaluate treatment effectiveness.  

This research has the potential to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma.

Accurate blood-based tests are the rapid, cost-effective diagnostic and monitoring tool that oncology currently lacks. 

 The advantages for patients are manifold:  

  • Minimise patient discomfort, lessen the logistical burden related to invasive bone marrow procedures, and allow for more frequent monitoring of disease management. 
  • Enable faster diagnosis and equitable access to personalised effective therapies at an early stage in a patient’s treatment journey. 
  • Facilitate the determination of when to cease or modify treatment regimens. 

Your donation will play a pivotal role in supporting SVI’s groundbreaking research endeavors.

At SVI, we have one compelling and unwavering focus; to ensure that our medical discoveries transform lives.

Please join us in making this a reality, by donating today. 

Make a life-changing donation