Dr Faith Davies
Academic Title: Reader
Team: Myeloma Targeted Treatment Team
Tel: 020 8643 8901
Multiple myeloma is a malignant disorder of bone marrow plasma cells, which is presently incurable and affects more than 3500 new individuals each year in the UK. During the last few years, much has been learnt regarding the biological and molecular characterisation of the myeloma cell and the role of the bone marrow microenvironment in disease pathogenesis.
Our studies aim to identify new biological and molecular targets that are central to disease biology, and to investigate the potential of targeting these molecules therapeutically.
By using a number of in vitro model systems looking at both the myeloma plasma cell and the bone marrow microenvironment, we aim to identify compounds which show most promise for the clinic, and to gain vital knowledge regarding their mechanism of action, correct drug scheduling and rationale drug combinations.
Our previous studies have investigated the mode of action and clinical use of a number of drugs that now form the backbone of myeloma therapy. These include thalidomide, IMiDs and proteasome inhibitors.
Our current studies concentrate on a number of key areas:
- Targeting protein turnover and cellular stress - two pathways we have identified as being central to myeloma plasma cell growth and survival
- Targeting signalling pathways important in myeloma growth and survival. Examples include FGFR3 and MMSET, two oncogenes dysregulated by the t(4;14) translocation, and the PI3kinase pathway, a pathway which is constitutively activate in 50% of patients
Importantly this work complements our Phase I/II studies at The Royal Marsden, where we are introducing a number of new drugs into the clinical setting.
Current Funding: Cancer Research UK, Myeloma UK, Wellcome Trust
Previous funding: Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund, Department of Health.
Team members: SO - Lauren Aronson, SO – vacant, PhD student - Daniel Itzhak, PDTF – Dr Rosie Fryer, PDTF – Dr Lei Zhang, PDTF – vacant
Faith is a member of the Faculty at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London; a Consultant Haematologist at The Royal Marsden, London; and a Cancer Research UK Senior Cancer Fellow.
Having qualified as a doctor at the University of Wales College of Medicine, she completed her general medical training in Cardiff and Birmingham, and her Haematology Specialist training in Leeds and London. During this time, she also undertook research at the University of Leeds and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (USA) in to the biology and treatment of multiple myeloma, concentrating on a number of potential new drugs and new genetic technologies and their application to myeloma.
She currently combines laboratory-based research on targeted approaches to myeloma therapy with clinical work involving the introduction of new drugs to the clinic. She is chair of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Myeloma subgroup, and is actively involved in a number of Phase I, II and II clinical trials, including Myeloma IX and Myeloma XI. She is chairman elect of the UK Myeloma Forum, and a member of the scientific advisory boards of both Myeloma UK and the International Myeloma Foundation.
She has received funding for her research from the Cancer Research UK, Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund, Department of Health, Leukaemia Research Fund and British Society of Haematology. She has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and has contributed to a number of book chapters and reviews on myeloma biology and treatment. She is also a reviewer for a number of international journals, and for grant-giving bodies.
Characterising the UPR Pathway
Our ongoing work is characterising the protein turnover and cellular stress pathways more fully in myeloma with a view to targeting it therapeutically.