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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UAMS names new head of myeloma center

Posted By on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 12:11 PM

click to enlarge COMING TO UAMS: Gareth Morgan
  • COMING TO UAMS: Gareth Morgan
UAMS announced today that Dr. Gareth Morgan, a British researcher, had been named director of the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy. He succeeds founder Dr. Bart Barlogie.

Barlogie, credited with building the institute into one with worldwide acclaim after founding it in 1989, will continue to work there. He's 69 and a spokesman said he'll devote time to patients and research.

UAMS also announced it had received $5 million in general improvement money from Gov. Mike Beebe and had matched it with $15 million in private contributions for a $20 million infusion into the institute's work, including recruiting Morgan with plans for lab and team improvements. He'll be paid a salary to match what he currently makes — 500,000 pounds sterling, or about $840,000.

The lead donor was Carol Ammon, of Philadelphia, a pharmacy executive, whose spouse, Dr. Marie Pinnozzoto, was treated at the institute six years ago and decided this was the best place in the world to come for care.

Morgan, who has been with the Myeloma UK Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, will start work here in July.

A UAMS release said:

“I am thrilled to be taking up this new post and very much look forward to the opportunities it presents.” Morgan said. “With support from UAMS, I will build on the excellent work done  to date as well as its reputation as world leader in myeloma treatment to develop innovative approaches for all myeloma patients and to characterize and cure high-risk myeloma.

“Myeloma is different for each individual patient, as different as one fingerprint is from another. It’s critical to develop technologies that can read this fingerprint, and to determine what is driving the disease in each individual patient, so we can kill or normalize the behavior of the  myeloma cells. There isn’t a single treatment for myeloma but rather, there are many different, personalized treatment strategies, one of which is appropriate for a particular individual patient.”

Morgan said going forward, “We envision establishing a series of clinical trials investigating new treatments based on each patient’s unique myeloma fingerprint.”

“Gareth Morgan is an internationally recognized and respected scientist and clinician who  works in the field of the molecular genetics and treatment of blood cell cancers — in particular,  myeloma,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “The work he will do carries substantial  promise of not only supplementing the research directions already being pursued within the  institute, but in developing treatments with minimal toxicity.”

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