David Kurtz, MD, PhD

Stanford University

Titles + affiliations

Assistant Professor of Medicine (Oncology)
Stanford University School of Medicine


Determinants of Resistance to BCMA-Targeted Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cells in Multiple Myeloma from Cell-Free DNA


Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most common blood cancer. While new treatments have emerged for MM in the last decade, most patients will have their disease come back after treatment. One of the most promising new treatments for MM is a called a “chimeric antigen receptor T-cell”, or CAR T-cell for short. These CAR T-cells harness the power of the immune system to treat cancer, often leading to significant responses in patients with MM. However, despite how well these CAR T-cells initially work, the MM disease will almost always return and become resistant to treatment. The reasons that MM stops responding to CAR T-cell treatment is not currently known. In this project, we will discover the reasons that MM becomes resistant to treatment. By using ‘liquid biopsies’ to detect tumor DNA molecules directly from a simple blood draw, this project will reveal the specific mutations in DNA that lead to resistance to CAR T-cells targeting BCMA, a molecule found on MM cells. This project will lead a better understanding of which patients respond to CAR T-cells, and which do not. This will lead to next-generation approaches for MM therapies.


Leukemia Research Foundation grant
$100K awarded in 2022

Disease focus
Multiple myeloma

Research focus
Treatment (immuntherapy)