Paula and Rodger Riney of St. Louis, through the Paula and Rodger Riney Foundation, have made a $40 million grant to support multiple myeloma research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The grant represents the largest single award supporting multiple myeloma research in Dana-Farber’s history. The Paula and Rodger Riney Foundation has been a strong supporter of Dana-Farber and with this grant has cumulatively awarded nearly $60 million to the Institute.
Multiple myeloma is a challenging cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Dana-Farber has been at the forefront of multiple myeloma therapies over the past two decades, helping to convert myeloma from a fatal disease to a chronic condition for many patients.
However, therapeutic resistance and drug-related toxicities continue to take a toll on many patients, underscoring the need for innovative treatments.
“The path to developing new treatments for multiple myeloma is through rigorous research,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, president and CEO of Dana-Farber and the Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine. “The most effective way to spur that research is in supporting the scientists doing the complex work. The Riney Family are generous and stalwart supporters, and through this grant and their previous support they continue to make a profound impact on scientific discovery and clinical care. Their leadership will help patients at Dana-Farber and around the world.”
“My own journey as a myeloma patient—and knowing how many others are also living with this disease—has led us to seek out the individuals, teams, and organizations that are on the leading edge of research,” said Rodger Riney. “There is no time to waste in the pursuit of better understanding, treatment, and cures.”
Accelerating translational research
This new $40 million grant builds upon ongoing work and will deepen and expand approaches for addressing the most complex challenges in myeloma research and improving patient care. Specifically, this grant will:
• Renew support for preclinical experiments to identify novel targets and develop new medicines and immune-based therapies for patients;
• Fund clinical research designed to test novel myeloma therapies, alone and in combination with standard and experimental treatments, to improve patient outcomes; and,
• Support co-location of myeloma labs at Dana-Farber to facilitate greater cohesion and collaboration among members of the research team.
“I extend my heartfelt thanks to Paula and Rodger Riney for their unprecedented support of our research to develop novel treatments for multiple myeloma,” said Ken Anderson, MD, program director at Dana-Farber’s Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center and LeBow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics and the Kraft Family Professor of Medicine. “This very generous grant will fast-forward our translation of basic discoveries to clinical trials, ultimately providing innovative treatments for patients and their families.”
Anderson will lead the research efforts supported by this grant in close partnership with Nikhil Munshi, MD, director of basic and correlative science at the Lipper Center and the Kraft Family Chair at Dana-Farber. The grant will also provide support for clinical work led by Paul Richardson, MD, clinical program leader and director of clinical research at the Lipper Center and the R.J. Corman Professor of Medicine.
“My family and I feel grateful to be able to support Ken, Paul, and Nikhil and their teams at Dana-Farber who are making incredible inroads,” said Riney. “We are humbled by the lifelong dedication that they bring to myeloma patients suffering from this terrible disease. We hope this gift will inspire others to also support the tremendous work happening every day in Dana- Farber’s labs and clinics.”
A legacy of leadership
The Rineys have a strong legacy of supporting multiple myeloma research at Dana-Farber and in 2019 gave a $16.5 million gift to establish the Riney Family Multiple Myeloma Initiative, which has driven groundbreaking research in record time. Examples of recent discoveries by Dana-Farber investigators include:
• Bringing therapeutic antibodies, which help immune cells find and attack tumors, to patients with multiple myeloma.
• Setting the stage for the development of innovative therapies that exploit the unique vulnerabilities of multiple myeloma cells.
Over the past two years, the Paula and Rodger Riney Foundation also made gifts totaling $2.6 million to establish the Riney Family Fund for COVID-19 and Multiple Myeloma Research at Dana-Farber, under Richardson’s direction.
These commitments provide powerful momentum for The Dana-Farber Campaign, an ambitious multi-year $2 billion fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer by accelerating revolutionary science, extraordinary care, exceptional expertise, and essential opportunities.