Since 2013, Neal and Vicki Roth’s support has fueled remarkable progress in multiple myeloma research under the leadership of Kenneth Anderson, MD, program director of Dana-Farber’s Jerome Lipper Center for Multiple Myeloma and LeBow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics, and the Kraft Family Professor of Medicine. Now, through a gift of $1 million providing additional support to the Vicki and Neal Roth Fellowship for Multiple Myeloma Research, the Roths have underscored their commitment to transforming the prognosis for multiple myeloma patients at Dana-Farber and around the world.
Due in no small part to Anderson and his colleagues at Dana-Farber, the outlook for patients with multiple myeloma has improved dramatically over the past two decades. Anderson’s work led to the development of bortezomib, which was the first new myeloma medicine in more than 30 years when it was approved by the FDA in 2003. Anderson and his team have led the way in developing almost all of the 15 medicines approved for myeloma today, enabling many patients to live three to five times longer than they did before the approval of bortezomib.
There is, however, still work to be done. Over time, myeloma cells grow impervious to even the most potent medicines, causing disease relapse. Moreover, some myeloma subtypes do not respond well to standard treatments. Through the Roth Fellowship for Multiple Myeloma Research, under Anderson’s direction, physician-scientists at the Lipper Center are confronting these challenges head on. The Roths’ recent gift will sponsor five fellows as they pursue investigations aimed at answering the most critical questions regarding the biology and treatment of myeloma. The inaugural Roth Fellow, Liang Lin, PhD, demonstrated the lifesaving work that is possible with this support. Among other points of progress, Lin advanced the development of an antibody-drug conjugate, a new type of medicine for myeloma, toward clinical trials. Investments in developing this type of expertise and in advancing new treatments and prevention are critical
priorities of The Dana-Farber Campaign.
The Roths believe in the continued impact that the fellows will have in myeloma research. “The Roth Fellows, with Dr. Anderson as their mentor, have the power to change the course of this disease,” said Neal. “Their work is essential to creating a world in which myeloma is not only treatable, but preventable.”
Anderson, who has built a relationship with the Roths over the past nine years, looks forward to extending the pipeline of promising new treatment strategies with their support and building the next generation of leaders for myeloma research.
“Vicki and Neal have been tremendous partners in the progress we have made in myeloma research and treatment,” Anderson said. “With this generous gift, our team will build upon these achievements in the years ahead.”
In honor of Anderson’s work, the Roths have also contributed an ink print by Frank Grisdale entitled “Sweet Fields, Study No. 2, 2008,” which will be displayed at the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care.