Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. Although there are many treatments, it almost always comes back. Scientists are looking for new treatments. Studies have shown, perhaps surprisingly, that the body’s ability to control a cancer is affected by the microbiome. The microbiome is the collection of bacteria that live in the gut. We hypothesize that myeloma, and how the immune system fights it, might respond to signals from the gut microbiome.
We are planning a new clinical trial to see if a fermented food product that may protect the microbiome will help nurture the microbiomes of patients getting bone marrow transplants. We will use samples collected from the trial participants to determine the effect of the fermented food on the microbiome and the metabolites that get into the patients’ bodies. Then we will study what happens to the immune system of patients in the trial. Finally, we will give myeloma to mice in the laboratory, while treating them humanely, and ask if antibiotics affect how the cancer behaves.
This study is important because it could help us understand how the microbiome affects MM and how to prevent cancer from coming back after treatment. The findings may also be helpful for developing new treatments for other types of cancer. Ultimately, we hope this will make people feel better and live longer.