Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and University of Michigan Team up on a New Molecular Profiling Initiative to Speed Genomic Sequencing Results to Patients

NORWALK, Conn. & ANN ARBOR, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), together with the University of Michigan, today announced a collaboration to perform clinical-grade (CLIA) genomic sequencing on hundreds of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (MM) patients over a two year period. The purpose of the Molecular Profiling Initiative (MPI) is to provide timely CLIA genomic sequencing information to MM patients and their doctors, allowing them to make informed treatment decisions and identify potential treatment options based on a patient’s genomic alterations.

The MPI will perform CLIA sequencing on 500 patient samples over the next 2 years and is currently available free of charge at Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Baylor University Medical Center, City of Hope, University of California San Francisco Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Princess Margaret Medical Centre, Virginia Cancer Specialists and Washington University Medical Center with more sites expected to open over the next few months. Bone marrow and peripheral blood samples are collected at these clinical sites and shipped to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center for sequencing through its MI-ONCOSEQ program, which will use the Oncoseq1700 platform to evaluate alterations in 1700 genes, many of which are related to cancer.

“We are excited to work with the MMRF to bring comprehensive precision oncology approaches to multiple myeloma patients,” says Arul Chinnaiyan, PhD, Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Through this effort we hope to determine the utility of genomic sequencing in nominating potential clinical trials and therapies based on the molecular features of an individual’s cancer.”

The MMRF Molecular Profiling Initiative is part of the MMRF’s broader effort to accelerate research toward a cure, and will contribute to the MMRF Precision Medicine model’s goal of improving the understanding of the disease and its impact on each individual patient. De-identified data from the MPI will complement and augment existing datasets from the MMRF Multiple Myeloma Genomic Initiative (MMGI) and the MMRF CoMMpass study, a 1,000 patient longitudinal observational trial. This study provides vital information on how the disease evolves and response to treatments in each patient, by collecting comprehensive clinical information and generating genomic sequencing at diagnosis, and at each disease recurrence, or relapse. Adding MPI de-identified data to the MMRF’s publicly-accessible researcher platform is another example of how MMRF, together with research and academic centers, is harnessing the promise of data sharing.

Results from MMGI, CoMMpass and other ongoing studies have demonstrated the variability of genomic alterations in MM between patients and also in the same patient at different points in time in their disease, highlighting the importance of making MM treatment more precise. These studies have also revealed that over 50% of myeloma patients carry potentially “actionable” alterations (i.e. those for which there are drugs in the clinic).

“Precision Medicine is rapidly becoming a reality for myeloma patients,” says Daniel Auclair, PhD, Senior Vice President Research at MMRF. “Efforts like the MPI are essential to identify new treatment options, especially for relapsing individuals, and advance a new generation of tailored therapeutics for MM.

About Multiple Myeloma (MM)

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a cancer of the plasma cell. It is the second most common blood cancer. An estimated 30,330 adults (17,900 men and 12,430 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with MM in 2016 and an estimated 12,650 people are predicted to die from the disease. The five-year survival rate for MM is approximately 47%, versus 31% in 1999.

About Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation:

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy’s diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world’s number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised more than $300 million since its inception and directs nearly 90% of its total budget to research and related programming. As a result, the MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for 11 consecutive years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency. To learn more, visit

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