A novel therapeutic strategy in Multiple Myeloma: Inhibition of AXL to counter immune suppression and drug resistance
Belgium (BeMSA) - Vrije Universiteit Brussel VUB, Brussels
Labo Hematology and Immunology (HEIM)
Prof. Karin Vanderkerken
Kim De Veirman
4 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
No No No No No No Yes No No No No No
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most common haematological malignancy, yet for the majority of patients still incurable. In several cancers, the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL (AXL is derived from the Greek word 'anexelekto,' or uncontrolled) can drive wide-ranging processes including tumor angiogenesis, induction of dormancy and resistance to chemo- and immunotherapy. In this project we wish to investigate the role of AXL in MM cells and in the myeloma bone marrow microenvironment and its potential as a therapeutic target. In this study, we will investigate AXL expression in several cell types of the bone marrow microenvironment including tumor cells, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, macrophages, myeloid derived suppressor cells and endothelial cells. Specific AXL inhibitors will be tested to analyse effects on cell viability, proliferation (dormancy), migration and immune suppression in vitro. Chemotherapy-induced AXL expression will be evaluated in vitro and in vivo and combination therapy conducted to validate AXL as a potential therapeutic target.
What is the aim of the project?

The aim of the project is to investigate AXL as a potential new target in the treatment of MM. The primary objectives are:
- Investigate AXL expression in different (pre-) treated patient samples
- Investigate the effect of AXL targeting on tumor development and immune activation
- Investigate the effect of AXL inhibitors in combination therapy

What techniques and methods are used?

- Cell culture
- Immunohistochemical stainings
- Flow cytometry
- Western blot

What is the role of the student?
- The student will mainly observe
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will be present during the experiments and will help with the cell culture and set-up of the experiments including flow cytometry, western blot, immunohistochemical staining and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). He/she can make a presentation at the end of the internship and understands the data. During the internship, the student learns everything about the subject, reads literature to understand the problem and can help in summarizing and discussing the obtained results.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a presentation
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Some lab experience is always positive, but not essential. Scientific interest and motivation is required.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Students in biomedical fields
- Waizenegger et al. Role of Growth arrest-specific gene 6-Mer axis in multiple myeloma.
- Menu Eline et al. Myeloma cells (5TMM) and their interactions with the marrow microenvironment.