Bone marrow biospy specimens from patients with myeloma were cultured in either 1 of 2 thin-film culture systems, a controlled environment steady state system or a rocker tube configuration of the system, for periods up to 42 days. Both functional and morphological characteristics of the myeloma cells were well-maintained in these systems. Cytocentrifuge preparations of the culture media disctosed hematopoietic cells that included from 5% to almost 100% plasma cells. Histological examination of the cultured specimens disclosed infiltration of the marrow with myeloma cells. Myeloma proteins were released at a steady rate throughout the period of culture after the 1st 4 days. Boneresorbing activity was demonstrated in the culture media in 7 of 9 myeloma culture media and wa well maintained, particularly during the 1st week of culture. This activity was associated with severe osteolytic lesions in the donor patient and marked infiltration of the cultured specimen by meloma cells. The potential use of these organ culture systems for the further definitive identification of the factor responsible for bone destruction in myeloma is discussed.

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Supported by USPHS Grant CA-5834 from the National Cancer Institute, Grant 423 from the Anna Fuller Fund, and Grant DT-49 from the American Cancer Society.

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