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Our research into bone cancer

Our work on bone cancer focuses on improving patient survival and prognosis. Thanks to our research, we can now detect both high-risk patients and new targets for cancer drugs.

We have led pioneering research into multiple myeloma, the most common type of bone cancer, and one that is on the rise in the UK. 

Our latest bone cancer news

Meet our researchers

Our progress against bone cancer

Genetic testing

Our work on bone cancer has led to genetic test that can identify people who are at high risk of multiple myeloma, which occurs in the bone marrow, as well as patients whose cancer is more likely to become aggressive at an early stage.

Our researchers also developed a test that predicts whether multiple myeloma patients will get nerve damage after treatment – a common side effect from myeloma drugs, such as thalidomide.

Risk genes

We were the first to discover that the risk of multiple myeloma is linked to certain genes. Professor Richard Houlston led a study that identified two parts of the genome which are more common in multiple myeloma patients and could be responsible for up to 37 per cent of cases in Europe. 

Another study headed by Dr Charlotte Pawlyn found for the first time that overexpression of a specific gene was associated with more lethal myeloma in patients, reducing their survival chances and making treatments less effective. This gene could be a new target for therapy for a range of cancer types, not limited to myeloma.

Drug targets

Cancer cells can stay alive and continue growing in the body, even under stressful conditions. Our researchers tested new drugs – one of which was discovered at the ICR – that can block the stress response that keeps cancer cells alive. These drugs could be very effective against the bone marrow cancer myeloma.

Your support helps

As a UK charity, our life-saving research relies on the generosity of individuals and organisations. Our supporters help us make a difference to the lives of cancer patients and their families everywhere.


Latest news on bone cancer

Meet our researchers

Professor Richard Houlston

Professor Richard Houlston

Richard Houlston's research focuses on genetic susceptibility to cancer. He is Head of the Division of Genetics and Epidemiology.

Professor Richard Houlston

Dr Charlotte Pawlyn

Charlotte Pawlyn

Charlotte Pawlyn leads the Myeloma Biology and Therapeutics Team at the ICR and is an Honorary Consultant in Haematology at The Royal Marsden.

Dr Charlotte Pawlyn

Dr Martin Kaiser

Profile picture of Dr Martin Kaiser

Dr Martin Kaiser’s Team aims to design gentler, tailored therapies for patients with multiple myeloma, an immune cell cancer of the bone marrow.

Dr Martin Kaiser