Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI), led by Prof Michael O’Dwyer of NUI Galway, has completed the first Phase I clinical trial study in Ireland on patients newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
The blood cancer arises from a plasma cell – a type of white blood cell – that normally produces antibodies to fight infection. In those diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the plasma cells become cancerous and are thus named myeloma cells.
They impair the production of red blood cells, leading to the development of anaemia and also serious damage to the bones and kidneys. In Ireland, approximately 250 people are diagnosed with the cancer every year and 170 eventually succumb to it.