By MMRF President and CEO Walter Capone
Advances in technology have made it possible to store, analyze and display massive amounts of complex clinical and genomic data and made it available. The problem? Often this rich data lives behind firewalls at hundreds of different research centers meant to preserve potential intellectual property and publishing rights.
Due to a competitive environment for grant funding within the research community, the sharing of innovative ideas, models and data with one another is secondary to securing patents or generating publications, and often only occurs in addition to specific programs when detailed contracts are put in place.
As a result, the patient’s priorities of improved treatments and cures are eclipsed by this lack of aligned interests. The availability of data and information is critical to quickly and efficiently bringing novel, lifesaving therapeutics to those most in need. The collaborative analysis and generation of new ideas or hypotheses happens infrequently.
We aim to change that.
The MMRF model integrates data, partnerships and the clinic with the ultimate goal of accelerating the development of cures for patients. We established and continue to grow a data bank, fed by data from the MMRF CoMMpass Study, and openly share information on an ongoing basis through a global learning network, so that the scientific community can collaboratively decipher patterns and rapidly test potential new solutions for patients.
On April 10, 2015, we convened nearly 50 representatives from top research organizations in multiple myeloma at the MMRF Data Jamboree at GNS Healthcare’s headquarters. Researchers from biotech and pharma companies such as, Amgen/Onyx, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen, and Takeda along with institutions and academia centers including Mount Sinai, Mayo Clinic, the Translational Genomics Research Institute and University of Southern California and many more. These organizations joined together to share data and discuss hypotheses, for the sole purpose of accelerating precision medicine approaches to benefit multiple myeloma patients.
The MMRF Data Jamboree was an energetic thoughtful exchange of data and ideas among our community of experts to help build computational models for multiple myeloma, centered on data from the CoMMpass study. GNS Healthcare will use data from CoMMpass enriched by the expertise of our research collaborators to uncover novel molecular pathways that may predict and prevent disease progression and address the unmet treatment needs of patients. During the Jamboree, attendees openly discussed and identified priority areas (such as the higher risk patient populations) for further in-depth analysis modeling.
The more data we have and the more information we can provide to our partners, the better equipped we are as a community to bring truly personalized treatment solutions to patients more quickly and efficiently. By breaking down traditional barriers and encouraging the sharing of data that have slowed research in the past, we will accelerate discoveries and cures.
Myeloma will not be cured by one of us – it will be cured by all of us, and we are on our way.