Improving Patient Outcomes in Myeloma

Myeloma is a relapsing and remitting cancer that has a significant physical and emotional burden on patients and their families. Despite significant advances over the past 15 years or so, it remains a largely incurable cancer. However, there are reasons to be hopeful that finding a cure may be possible.

An increased understanding of the genetic factors that are responsible for the onset and progression of myeloma alongside a pipeline of novel cell and gene therapy treatment approaches, are leading to realistic preventative and curative strategies. The DFN Foundation is making a significant contribution to these efforts.

Aims of the DFN Foundation

  • Support laboratory and clinical research into the factors responsible for the onset, heterogeneity and progression of myeloma, with the aim of finding preventative and/or curative treatment strategies.
  • Support research to gain a better understanding of what matters most to patients and their families in the context of their treatment and care preferences, as well as the burden of disease.
  • Support initiatives that aim to prioritise research and measure the evidence it produces, so that scarce resources are allocated to the research most likely to benefit patients.

How the DFN Foundation Plans to Achieve its Goals

  • The DFN Foundation is currently supporting a five-year myeloma research programme at the Institute of Cancer Research in London under the leadership of Dr Martin Kaiser through the Jacquelin Forbes Nixon Research Fellowship.
  • This important and innovative research programme is investigating the factors that are responsible for the onset, progression and resistance to treatment of myeloma, particularly in patients with high-risk disease features. This includes support for research directly blinked to a number of potentially transformative clinical trials.
  • The DFN Foundation’s Board of Directors are currently reviewing plans for future investment in myeloma research in line with the aims outlined above. The DFN Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals for research

What is Myeloma?

Myeloma is a cancer that derives from plasma cells generally present in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are a kind of white blood cell which are crucial for effective immune system function. In myeloma, these cells turn cancerous and release abundant quantities of a single antibody, called paraprotein, which does not have any useful function.

Multiple Myeloma

It affects many parts of the body that contain bone marrow and that is why it is often called as multiple myeloma. Usual issues connected with myeloma are bone pain, fractures, fatigue, frequent or recurrent infection and kidney damage.

Important Facts about Myeloma

Number of Patients

Approximately 5,700 people are diagnosed with myeloma in the UK every year.

Who Needs Treatment

There are about 18,000 people with myeloma in the UK at any one time.

Ratio in Cancers

Approximately 15-20% of myeloma patients have a high-risk form of the cancer.

Who Gets Affected

Myeloma affects slightly more men than women and is most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 65.


Due to its vague symptoms, the diagnosis of myeloma is often delayed – sometimes for months or years.