Singapore scientists identify new biomarker for cancer in bone marrow

Singapore scientists have identified, a molecule that typically prevents cell death. 

They say the molecule known as FAIM can be a potential biomarker to identify an incurable form of cancer in the bone marrow. 

Patients with this form of cancer usually do not get cured with current standard treatments such as chemotherapy and survive on average for about four years. 

The scientists say FAIM could be a therapeutic target in these patients, as drugs developed to target the molecule could destroy multiple myeloma cells and hence eradicate the cancer. 

Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of blood cells, which arises due to an uncontrollable accumulation of antibody-producing plasma cells in the bone marrow. 

In Singapore, about 80 new cases of the cancer are diagnosed every year. 

The collaborative research was conducted by scientists at A*STAR's Bioprocessing Technology Institute , along with clinician-scientists at National University Cancer Institute, Singapore and the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore at the National University of Singapore. 

The research findings were published in the journal Leukemia on 5 December 2012.