Industry News: Proteona awards $100,000 in grant funding to multiple myeloma clinical projects aiming to improve treatment outcomes

22 Apr 2021


Proteona has announced awards from its Single-Cell Multi-omics Grant competition for Multiple Myeloma (MM). The Grant has been awarded to two outstanding clinician-scientists: Dr. Scott Goldsmith (Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, USA) and Dr. Florian Kuchenbauer (BC Cancer Research Centre, Canada). Each awardee will receive $50,000 USD in Proteona’s ESCAPE™ multi-omic single-cell analysis services. ESCAPE combines proprietary sample preparation reagents and artificial-intelligence-based analytics to help researchers better understand how and why highly complex tumors respond to new and existing therapies. 

Dr. Scott Goldsmith is looking for ways to overcome MM drug resistance.  By analyzing patient samples from both pre-treatment and at relapse, he aims to validate previously identified biomarkers of therapy resistance and identify drugs that can help overcome that resistance mechanism.

“Patients with multiple myeloma often respond well to initial treatment, but they almost always relapse,” said Dr. Goldsmith. “With this technology, we can examine the MM subpopulations and their immunophenotypes at single-cell granularity. This is crucial to helping us understand the mechanisms underlying relapse and to identifying drugs that may help overcome treatment resistance.”

Dr. Kuchenbauer’s group has developed a novel MM classifier to predict which patients will not respond to standard first-line treatments. As part of their proposal, they will continue to refine the classifier and study the impact of key genes they have identified in the progression of the disease, potentially identifying novel drug targets for MM.

“The simultaneous measurement of protein and RNA using the ESCAPE platform will identify affected cellular pathways at single-cell resolution," said Dr. Kuchenbauer. “This unique approach will show, for the first time, the impact of the pathways we are studying, and therefore provide a strong rationale to design drug screening panels for ultra high-risk patients.”

The grant awards include the following:

  • Single cell multi-omics analysis using Proteona’s ESCAPE™ technology, simultaneously measuring gene expression, protein expression, and mutations from single cells. 
  • AI-assisted data analysis including access to Proteona’s proprietary MapCell-AI™ for cell annotations, MapBatch™ for batch normalization, and MapResponse™ for treatment response predictions. 
  • Access to MapDB™, Proteona’s proprietary single cell multi-omics disease database. 
  • Assistance in experimental design and tech support. 

“Given the large number of high-quality abstracts we received this year, we decided to award two outstanding proposals,” said Dr Andreas Schmidt, CEO of Proteona. “We believe that 2021 will be a crucial year for the advancement of multiple myeloma precision medicine, where single cell multi-omics will play an important role. We are beginning to see the expansion of single-cell multi-omics technology into the clinic at the frontline of the fight against cancer. At Proteona, we are dedicated to supporting these clinicians and scientists with the best tool available, and ultimately, to improving patients’ clinical outcomes.”

This is the second single cell grant call launched by Proteona. The first grant was awarded to Dr. Cesear Rodriguez Valdes from The Wake Forest School of Medicine, whose group aims to use a patient-derived 3D organoid model to develop predictive tests to improve multiple myeloma treatment outcomes.  

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