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All cancers have altered cellular metabolism to keep up with their energy and nutrient requirements because of their uncontrolled proliferation. Wilson I. Gonsalves, M.D., researches the cellular metabolism of malignant plasma cells in diseases such as multiple myeloma by employing a variety of systems biology techniques in an integrated fashion.
As a result, Dr. Gonsalves' laboratory aims to exploit the unique metabolic features of malignant plasma cells for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Dr. Gonsalves serves as the principal investigator for several early-phase clinical trials that investigate the safety and efficacy of novel compounds that disrupt the activity of select metabolic pathways in myeloma cells in patients.
Characterizing the metabolism of clonal plasma cells. Dr. Gonsalves' laboratory uses transcriptomic- and metabolomics-based approaches to understand the cellular metabolism of pre-malignant and malignant plasma cells both in vitro and in vivo.
Findings from these studies have helped to develop potential biomarkers associated with disease progression of clonal plasma cells from pre-malignant to malignant states. The findings have also led to the development of early-phase clinical trials of metabolic inhibitors used for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.
Targeting highly proliferative myeloma. The proliferation rate of the clonal plasma cells remains one of the most important prognostic indices among multiple myeloma patients at any point during their disease course. Yet, there is an unmet need in treating patients with highly proliferative multiple myeloma who frequently succumb to their disease rapidly.
A key area of Dr. Gonsalves' research is to identify potential metabolic pathways in highly proliferative myeloma cells that can be disrupted clinically to neutralize the adverse outcomes traditionally observed.
Primary plasma cell leukemia. One of the most aggressive but rare subtypes of multiple myeloma is primary plasma cell leukemia, characterized by the increased presence of circulating myeloma cells in the peripheral blood.
Dr. Gonsalves' clinical research has focused on describing the natural history of this very aggressive entity. His laboratory has been evaluating potential metabolic pathways unique to circulating myeloma cells that can be therapeutically targeted.
Dr. Gonsalves' overarching research goal is to improve the outcomes and quality of life among patients with plasma cell disorders. He seeks to do this by focusing on the disease biology of pre-malignant and malignant plasma cells and exploiting his findings for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
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