Michael Tomasson, MD, Professor in Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation, has received a one-year, $60,000 seed grant from the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCCC) to examine the environmental and genetic determinants underlying the transition of certain neoplasms into myelomas. MGUS is a precursor lesion that occurs before the development of multiple myeloma. In the majority of cases MGUS remains benign, but can be devastating when disease progression occurs. There is currently no cure for myeloma. In a collaboration with Drs. Melissa Bates and Gail Bishop, Dr. Tomasson will use these funds to investigate the causes behind malignant transformation. Based on a theory advanced by Dr. Bates, researchers will investigate a potential association between myeloma and obesity may be mediated by sleep apnea, and the short-term goal of this collaborative effort is to determine the effect of intermittent hypoxia on the immune system and on pre-malignant plasma cells.
As a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, the HCCC is empowered to fund a variety of mission-aligned developmental research projects such as Dr. Tomasson’s. Every comprehensive cancer center including the University of Iowa’s HCCC stresses the importance of multidisciplinary approaches in research and care, ensuring greater productivity and a faster translation of discoveries into more effective treatments.