There are 40 genes involved with the development of multiple myeloma (MM), according to new research published in Leukemia. The discovery increases the understanding of the complex genetics behind the disease, which is currently incurable, and could lead to the development of more personalized treatments.

The authors explained that “so far the molecular mechanisms responsible for the initiation and heterogeneous evolution of MM remain largely unknown,” and identifying driver mutations would be “fundamental to understanding MM oncogenesis and its response to therapy.”

The team of researchers, who were based at The Institute of Cancer Research in London, United Kingdom, and mostly funded by Myeloma UK, uncovered new areas of coding and noncoding DNA that drive early progression of MM.

“We need smarter, kinder treatments for myeloma that are more tailored to each person's cancer,” Richard Houlston, FRS, FMedSci, professor of Molecular and Population Genetics at The Institute of Cancer Research, said in a statement. “Exhaustive genetic research like this is helping us to make that possible. Our findings should now open up new avenues for discovering treatments that target the genes driving myeloma.”

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