Year of Grant: 2013

Location: Switzerland


Multiple myeloma (MM) is the most common form of blood cancer. With current treatment, the median survival is 4-7 years for patients, and cure is rarely achieved. In cases that end in death, typically, the disease has developed resistance against current antimyeloma drugs, including bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor considered the major backbone of current MM therapy.


For patients with bortezomib-refractory myeloma, the average life expectancy is only 9 months. While the prognosis and survival rates for multiple myeloma have improved over the years due to varied researches, more studies need to be done to overcome patients’ resistance against current antimyeloma agents. In Switzerland, there is currently no active therapy approved for proteasome inhibitor resistant myeloma.


This phase II trial seeks to repurpose Nelfinavir, an approved, well-known oral drug that has been used for decades to treat HIV in industrialized and developing countries, to treat patients with advanced multiple myeloma that had no other options left. This study is based off the researcher’s earlier basic science and preclinical laboratory work, which was followed by a phase I successor trial that demonstrated that the addition of the drug Nelfinavir to bortezomib can re-sensitize proteasome inhibitor-resistant myeloma to proteasome inhibitor treatment in a significant fraction of patients.


This important clinical trial has now been activated in 11 hospitals in Switzerland. Should the phase II study prove positive and meet its primary objective to demonstrate activity, the team aims to advance the therapy towards regulatory approval, which will ultimately, lead to the creation of an active, cost-effective treatment option for myeloma patients with bortezomib resistant myeloma.

KANTONSSPITAL ST. GALLEN: NelFinavir as BORTezomib-sensitizing drUg in patients with proteasome inhibitor-Nonresponsive myeloma