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MMRF Funded Grants

As the leading funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has supported more than 325 research grants at over 125 institutions worldwide. The MMRF supports innovative research efforts in the most promising areas of multiple myeloma research through several grant-making programs. Please use the filtering options on the left side of this page to sort through the past MMRF grants shown below.

Please note that grant information for 1997-2005 has not yet been uploaded; thank you for your patience as we work to include this information.

Targeted neutralization of regulatory T-cells to improve cancer therapy
Year Awarded: 2011 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: International Institution: University Medical Center Utrecht, DLA
Amount: $200,000 Investigator: Tuna Mutis
Boosting immune (white blood cells) responses that eradicate cancer by vaccination or immune cell transfusion is a promising approach to improve therapy for multiple myeloma. However, immune suppressive cells that naturally occur to prevent the immune system from developing organ-specific autoimmune diseases suppress curative immunity to tumors, and impede therapy. We aim to improve cancer immune therapy with minimal risk of inducing autoimmune disease, by neutralizing specifically the suppressive cells that hinder immunity against myeloma. To this end, we will apply genetically modified cancer-specific immune cells as vector to deliver molecules that neutralize suppressor cells locally to the tumor.

Mechanisms of Transformation in t(4;14) + Myeloma
Year Awarded: 2011 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: Washington University in St. Louis
Amount: $200,000 Investigator: Michael Tomasson
The t(4;14) translocation is a mutation that occurs in 15% of multiple myeloma patients and is associated with bad outcomes, but how this mutation functions is not clear. The leading candidate for how the t(4;14) drives cancer is a gene called MMSET. We discovered a small RNA gene called ACA11 within the MMSET gene that others have missed. In this study, we will characterize the functions of ACA11 at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels to determine its role in MM. This will allow us to devise better treatments for patients with the t(4;14).

The function of Irf4 and Blimp1 in normal and malignant plasma cells
Year Awarded: 2011 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: International Institution: The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Amount: $200,000 Investigator: Stephen Nutt
Plasma cells are a rare and highly specialized cell type that produces the antibodies that are essential to protect us from microorganisms and provide the basis for the beneficial effects of immunization. Multiple Myeloma is a form of cancer that arises from altered plasma cells whose number can no longer be appropriately controlled and is one of the most common blood cancers. Our research aims to understand how plasma cells are formed and what goes wrong in Multiple Myeloma. This approach will allow us to identify new drug targets for this difficult to treat disease.

The Role of EMMPRIN in Myeloma Cell Biology and Disease Progression
Year Awarded: 2011 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: Mayo Clinic.
Amount: $200,000 Investigator: Diane Jelinek
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a devastating, fatal plasma cell cancer. MM is preceded by one of two premalignant, asymptomatic stages, i.e., monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering MM (SMM). These patients are at significantly increased risk of progressing to MM, however, it is currently not possible to accurately identify patients progressing to MM before they exhibit significant end-organ damage. This proposal will study the EMMPRIN molecule for its ability to allow early identification of MGUS and SMM patients progressing to MM and for its role in MM cell growth and modification of the bone marrow microenvironment.

Novel Stromal Factors Driving Bortezomib-resistant NF-kappaB Activity in MM
Year Awarded: 2011 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Amount: $200,000 Investigator: Shigeki Miyamoto
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a treatable but incurable disease. Although major progress continues to be made in the treatment of MM with the development of new drugs, such as bortezomib and lenalidomide, drug resistance is still the major problem that inevitably results in patient death. We identified an atypical activation pathway for NF-kappaB, a family of gene regulators implicated in MM drug resistance. We also found that MM patient bone marrow cells produce a factor(s) to augment this activity in MM cells. We shall identify the factor and determine its role in drug resistance to combat this major clinical problem.

Targeting protein-protein interactions in myeloma TORC complexes
Year Awarded: 2011 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: Brentwood Biomedical Research Institute
Amount: $200,000 Investigator: Alan Lichtenstein
The mTOR protein provides a critical function in multiple myeloma cells by facilitating proliferation and survival/viability responses. mTOR functions through a complex where it must bind to other proteins to be effective. We will use a novel screening procedure in yeast where effective inhibitors that prevent this binding can be identified. These inhibitors will then be tested as potential anti-myeloma drugs.

Heparanase as a therapeutic target for regulation of myeloma bone disease
Year Awarded: 2011 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Amount: $200,000 Investigator: Yang Yang
90% of patients with myeloma have destructive bone lesions, and its causes remain unclear. Our studies show that heparanase, an enzyme that is preferentially expressed in myeloma cells, induces severe bone destruction in myeloma. We also discovered that heparanase increases the production of two major bone destructive factors named RANKL and MMP-9 by myeloma cells. This project will investigate how heparanase increases the production of RANKL and MMP-9 in myeloma cells and determine if therapeutic inhibition of heparanase blocks or reduces myeloma-induced bone destruction. This study will lead to new strategies for the treatment of myeloma bone disease.

Minimal Residual Disease to Better Characterize Multiple Myeloma Response and Detect Early Relapse
Year Awarded: 2010 Type of Grant: Diagnostic Investment Awards
Location: International Institution: Ospedale Molinette
Amount: $500,000 Investigator: Antonio Palumbo

Quantification of Circulating Tumor Specific DNA in Multiple Myeloma
Year Awarded: 2010 Type of Grant: Diagnostic Investment Awards
Location: United States Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Amount: $500,000 Investigator: William Matsui

Identification of molecular targets in myeloma microenvironments
Year Awarded: 2010 Type of Grant: Tumor Microenvironment
Location: United States Institution: University of Arkansas
Amount: $249,987 Investigator: Ya-Wei Qiang
Myeloma can control its bone marrow (BM) microenvironment, ensuring its survival and making it extremely difficult to treat. Our previous studies have demonstrated that cadherins abnormally occur in myeloma and BM stromal cells. We believe that cadherins promote myeloma growth, survival and drug resistance by enhancing their interaction with the BM microenvironment. We will study the role of cadherins in such process and then study strategies to interfere with their signaling. These studies will not only benefit understanding the role of cadherins in the biology of myeloma, but more importantly will help design new therapeutic strategy.

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