Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Giada Bianchi, MD

Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable cancer of blood cells. It evolves from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), a pre-malignant condition affecting 3-5% of individuals older than 50 years. MGUS patients progress to MM at a rate of 1% per year and the mechanisms underlying such transformation are unknown. No genetic driver mutations have been identified in MM to date, thus limiting our therapeutic options. Signaling through the transmembrane receptor Roundabout1 (ROBO1) is important in solid tumors, particularly gastrointestinal cancer. In MM, ROBO1 expression level was found to correlate with adverse survival in newly diagnosed patients, and ROBO1 mutations have been recently identified in patient-derived MM cells. Dr. Bianchi aims to investigate whether ROBO1 is sufficient to promote disease pathogenesis and to identify the downstream signaling molecules responsible for its function. She anticipates that her results will provide new insights into disease biology and the basis for development of biomarkers and novel therapies against MM and/or precursor conditions, allowing for rapid bench-to-bedside translation.

Project title: "Molecular mechanisms of ROBO1 in multiple myeloma pathogenesis"
Institution: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Named Award: Damon Runyon-Celgene Physician-Scientist
Award Program: Physician-Scientist
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Kenneth C. Anderson, MD
Cancer Type: Blood
Research Area: Cell Biology