As the Director of the Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis Program at Columbia University, I have focused on establishing a highly innovative clinical translational research program that will be considered transformative in the field of cancer-associated bone disease. This included extensive work in early drug development with bench-top to bedside research in plasma cell dyscrasia.
My translational research focuses on identifying novel targets for treating multiple myeloma bone disease (MMBD), which occurs in 80% of myeloma patients leading to significant morbidity and debilitation. Our laboratory identified MMP13 as a critical inducer of osteolysis in myeloma and described a completely novel pathway of OCL activation involving MMP-13 binding to PD-1H expressed by osteoclasts. Our findings will serve as the basis for novel treatment strategies in MMBD and other pathologic conditions characterized by increased bone resorption. Given the role of PD-1H as an immune checkpoint molecule, it is also conceivable that MMP-13 contributes to the immunosuppressive bone marrow microenvironment typical of multiple myeloma. The collaboration with other disciplines at Columbia University focusing on bone remodeling is critical to transfer our findings from bench to bedside. Therefore our research will greatly benefit from participation in the Columbia University Skeletal and Arthritis Center (SARC). My previous collaborations with members of this research community studying skeletal and joint diseases facilitated by SARC resulted in multiple publications and NIH grants. The resources of the SARC will substantially support my research, and I imagine that the Center will stimulate new collaborations and investigators to the field.