Sometimes, innovation that can change the world pops up in the most unimaginable places. That's the case in cancer research. A group of renown medical researchers are front-running a project in Iceland backed by the IMF that aims to decipher the genetic codes for most of the population of the tiny island nation through screening to determine who is predisposed for multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow, typically in older adults. The immediate goal: to learn what genetic factors can cause the disease and spur it to progress.
"All this from a simple blood test that can see if a person has a precursor for the disease," explains project leader Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson, a professor of hematology at the University of Iceland.
Myeloma is a test ground for other cancers because it is so easily tracked. The hope is that treatments that are proved effective for this disease may be effective in other cancers as well.
Establishing a database from which to draw general conclusions on the behavior of such diseases like cancer requires massive amounts of data collecting and analysis. It is no small feat.