Cancer is complex, but each day, scientists learn more. Multiple myeloma is extremely complicated with a continuously changing molecular profile that dictates whether or not a patient will respond to treatment.
For patients once thought to have achieved a complete response following treatment, scientists now know that small amounts of cancer cells can remain in the blood stream during and/or after treatment. This is known as minimal residual disease (MRD) and its presence increases the risk of relapse among patients. Detecting MRD could help doctors provide more effective care. The challenge? MRD is not always detectable with current, standard technology.
The good news is that tests are now being developed to measure the small levels of these cells to determine if the cancer has been eradicated, if the treatment is working and the patient’s remission status.
Today, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) announced a collaboration with Adaptive Biotechnologies, University of Torino and Amgen/Onyx to perform sequencing-based assessment of minimal residual disease (MRD) on hundreds of multiple myeloma patients. Patients enrolled in INSIDE MM-1, a ground-breaking, comparative, clinical disease monitoring trial, will be monitored for MRD using both flow cytometry and Adaptive’s clonoSEQ™ MRD test at regular intervals from initial diagnosis for up to five years after initial treatment.
Flow cytometry is a laser-based technology that counts cells in the body. The clonoSEQ™ MRD test offers increased sensitivity to identify cancer cells and measure the level of complete response in patients, over currently available tests.
This is an exciting time in cancer research, with the opportunity to personalize treatment options for myeloma patients.