Advancing the Science of Multiple Myeloma and Lymphoma Epidemiology and Outcomes

We study healthy and pathogenic processes in pathways involved in B cell homeostasis, chronic immune perturbation, inflammation and monoclonal evolution related to a variety of blood cancers, including Multiple Myeloma, and Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas as well as other plasma cell proliferative disorders. An important aspect of our research is to advance our understanding of disease risk, outcomes and disparities in morbidity and mortality observed by race/ethnicity. The Integrative Molecular And Genetic Epidemiology Study (IMAGE Study) is the basis for our research.

Generous support for the IMAGE Study is provided by the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society and O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.

You can make a difference in advancing our research. To participate in the IMAGE Study click here.

International Lymphoma and Epidemiology Consortium

Collaborations with the International Lymphoma and Epidemiology (InterLymph) Consortium, advance large-scale studies in human populations to identify the combined effects of genetic and environmental risk factors for myeloma and lymphomas. The InterLymph Consortium includes over 100 partners from the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. Dr. Brown is a founding member of the InterLymph – Multiple Myeloma Working Group, and serves as Chair of the InterLymph Coordinating Committee, which sets research priorities to advance myeloma and lymphoma research.

Epigenetics May Contribute to the Excess Risk of MGUS in African Americans

We are characterizing how inherited gene activity, based on past environmental exposures, contributes to the excess risk of MGUS in Black Americans, which is a precursor to Multiple Myeloma. Multiple Myeloma is the most common blood cancer in Black Americans and the risk is 2 to 3 times higher in this population compared White Americans. Our understanding of the disparity remains unclear.

Our project is the largest to date of the epigenetic effects that influence risk and progression of MGUS to MM and differences by race, for which Black Americans have the greatest burden of disease. Our study includes more than 20,000 participants from 9 US-based study sites, the intramural National Cancer Institute and the International Lymphoma Epidemiology (InterLymph) Consortium. 

To participate in this landmark study, click here.

Molecular Characterization of Myeloma and Related Precursor Conditions

In partnership with the Mayo Clinic and University of Chicago, we are characterizing molecular signatures of Multiple Myeloma, and related precursor conditions including Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance and Smoldering Myeloma, with an emphasis on epigenetics and cancer health disparities. The goal of this study is to identify microRNAs important for the risk and progression of Multiple Myeloma and to characterize the role of microRNAs in regulating gene transcription associated with myelomagenesis. Such characterizations will enable our ability to predict, classify, manage and treat Multiple Myeloma more effectively, particularly in high-risk populations.

Markers of Treatment Response in Patients with Multiple Myeloma

We are identifying what effect heparanase, a potent tumor regulator, has on microRNAs in the blood of patients treated for Multiple Myeloma in collaboration with Dr. Ralph D. Sanderson and others at UAB. These biomarkers may enable our ability to predict and manage treatment response in patients with Multiple Myeloma. The knowledge gained from this study may help lower the risk of morbidity and mortality in patients treated for Multiple Myeloma.

Advancing the Science of Lupus Epidemiology and Outcomes

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) results, in part, from genetic and environmental factors that lead to autoimmunity. We characterize interactions between genomic abnormalities and pathways that lead to altered immune responses with the risk of SLE, and among patients with SLE, the rate of progression and severity of lupus-associated nephritis and severe organ damage, which are more common among ethnic minorities. The knowledge gained may help us to lower the risk of lupus-related conditions and to manage and treat SLE more effectively. Our research is conducted in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, University of Puerto Rico Medical Campus and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Generous support for our investigations is provided by the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. Our investigations of SLE depend on our ability to recruit healthy people and those with SLE to our PROFILE Study. To participate in the PROFILE Study, click here.

Improving Clinical Management of Patients with Lupus

We are studying the effects of small noncoding molecules, called microRNAs, on autoantibody responses, genomic abnormalities and environmental factors, to identify novel biomarkers, which can be used to predict and tailor treatment in patients with lupus and lupus-associated nephritis, which disproportionately affect women and ethnic minorities. Our goal is to improve the clinical management of patients with SLE.

To participate in the PROFILE Study, click here.