Michigan State University (MSU) College of Natural Science (CNS) researcher Jetze Tepe received the 2013 Brian D. Novis Senior Award from the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF). Tepe’s research involves investigating the mechanism of a new type of proteasome regulation TCH compounds (imidazolines) which are highly effective against multiple myeloma in cell culture and in vivo tumor models. The award includes $80,000 in research funding per year (renewable for the following year) and is one of only two Novis senior grants given out worldwide in 2013.
Multiple myeloma is a terminal malignant disorder of differentiated B-cells and remains incurable. The leading treatment involves proteasome inhibition by bortezomib, but nearly all patients become resistant and/or intolerant within a few years following treatment, after which the average survival rate is less than one year.
“The goal of the research is to validate this additional type of proteasome modulation for direct applications to multiple myeloma treatment,” explained Tepe, associate professor of chemistry, who plans to define the target and pathway selectivity of the TCH compounds and define the efficacy in single and adjuvant treatments in a bone marrow microenvironment.
“Jetze is a superb scientist who is using organic chemistry to make a difference with this incurable disease,” said Robert Maleczka, Jr., professor and chair of the MSU Department of Chemistry. “His work is representative of the high-level, cutting-edge research being done in our department.”
Preliminary findings of the work were recently published in the journal ACS Chemical Biology, ASAP. The findings came out of a research collaboration with R. William Henry, MSU associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and Katherine Weilbeacher (MD), an associate professor and physician with Washington University, School of Medicine. The work was supported by joint grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
The IMF is the world’s oldest and largest non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients. The IMF established annual awards to promote research into better treatment options for multiple myeloma, in honor of the late Brian D. Novis, IMF co-founder.