The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is funding a $2 million research collaboration with Dana-Farber’s Irene Ghobrial, MD, to study smoldering multiple myeloma, a precursor condition that often gives rise to the blood cancer multiple myeloma. As part of this agreement, the foundation may provide additional funding pending initial results.
Combining the strengths of the MMRF, a leader in myeloma data generation, and Dana-Farber, a leader of research on myeloma and its precursor conditions, the initiative aims to identify markers of high-risk smoldering myeloma and develop new treatment strategies that could delay or prevent progression to active disease. The risk of progressing from smoldering to active myeloma is 10% per year, but some patients are more likely to progress rapidly due to certain risk factors, such as genetic abnormalities in their blood. Recent clinical trials show that treating high-risk smoldering myeloma can delay progression, giving patients more time before developing symptoms.
To learn how disease progression occurs and to develop therapies to prevent it, Ghobrial is screening for and studying patients with precursor conditions through the PCROWD and PROMISE studies, which she leads.
Building on these efforts, this landmark collaboration will give 500 patients with smoldering myeloma who are enrolled in PROMISE or PCROWD the opportunity to join the MMRF CureCloud study—a first-of-its-kind, direct-to-patient research initiative—and to donate their blood samples and medical records for in-depth analysis. CureCloud aims to create a massive hub of genomic and clinical data on patients with myeloma and its precursors. The initiative includes a novel in-home blood test designed to uncover the genetic makeup of abnormal blood cells in patients. Test results are returned directly to patients and their physicians.
“This revolutionary collaboration with the MMRF will enable us to build the most comprehensive data set for smoldering multiple myeloma,” said Ghobrial, Lavine Family Chair for Preventative Cancer Therapies, director of the Clinical Investigator Research Program, and head of the Michele and Steven Kirsch Laboratory at Dana-Farber. “Additionally, patients who participate will receive their genomic test results, which may be helpful in determining their risk of progression to active myeloma and their suitability for future clinical trials.”
The mission of the MMRF is to find a cure for every multiple myeloma patient. Founded in 1998 by Kathy Giusti, a patient with myeloma, and her twin sister, Karen Andrews, the MMRF has built the largest genomics data set of any cancer, opened nearly 100 clinical trials, and helped bring 13 FDA-approved therapies to market.
“Our collaboration with Dana-Farber will allow us to more precisely identify patients at higher risk of progression to active disease,” said MMRF Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Auclair, PhD. “It will also lay the groundwork for clinical trials that could transform the way we treat myeloma in the future.”