Multiple myeloma is a heterogeneous disease, meaning it is defined by many subtypes and can look differently in each individual patient. Therefore, we need to better understand what treatments are best for each patient based on their individual characteristics.
The MMRF heavily invests in the generation and analysis of robust molecular and clinical data, as well as other translational research programs to ensure all patients can get the maximum benefit from the treatment options that are available to them today and in the future.
The MMRF CoMMpassSM Study is a landmark longitudinal genomic-clinical study of more than 1,100 patients and was designed to provide researchers with as much information as possible about myeloma.
CoMMpass is one the largest myeloma datasets in the public domain. It focuses on mapping the genomic landscape of myeloma to understand patient subtypes, risk stratification, and identify new targets.
The decade-long study has yielded incredible insights that have transformed our understanding of myeloma, which is now changing how myeloma is researched and treated.
CoMMpass also represents a real-world snapshot of patients living with myeloma. Notably, 17% of the patients enrolled in the study are Black, which is consistent with the overall profile of myeloma’s patient population.
CoMMpass RNA sequencing data has identified 12 subtypes of myeloma. These subtypes can be related back to DNA alterations, some of which are actionable, meaning there is a therapy available that can target and treat that alteration. These findings led directly to the MMRC MyDRUG study (Myeloma—Developing Regimens Using Genomics), the clinical trial that puts these CoMMpass learnings into action.
CoMMpass genomic data showed that myeloma patients can have specific DNA changes, or mutations, that are associated with cancer. Drugs that target these mutations are already approved for other cancer types and are effective. Through the MyDRUG trial, these drugs are available for the first time to myeloma patients.
CoMMpass genomic data is helping doctors identify which patients have high-risk myeloma and may need to be treated differently than standard-risk patients.
African Americans have twice the risk of developing MM compared to other ethnicities and are twice as likely to die from the disease. CoMMpass data has shown that:
This information gleaned from CoMMpass points to the conclusion that if African American patients receive treatment equal to other patients, their outcomes are as good as or better than other ethnicities. This has implications regarding treatment disparities and cultural differences that can be addressed in the community to improve the outcomes of African Americans with multiple myeloma.
A person’s immune system is a critical defense against the development of cancer. The immune system can detect and destroy abnormal cells, including cancer cells. As people age, the immune system weakens, which can lead to the development of cancer, including multiple myeloma.
To fully understand myeloma disease biology, we need deep knowledge of not only the genetics of myeloma, but also myeloma patient immunity. Specifically, we need to understand how a myeloma patient’s immune system can change during the development of their disease and how it is affected by therapy.
To drive this understanding the MMRF is developing an immune-focused database (the MMRF “Immune Atlas”) describing the myeloma patient immune system from disease development, through diagnosis and their treatment journey.
This information, from hundreds of patients, will be combined with the existing genomic and clinical data from our CoMMpassSM study to develop a more comprehensive picture of myeloma disease biology. These resulting insights will be helpful in guiding optimal therapy for myeloma patients.
Yao, L., Jayasinghe, R.G., Lee, B.H. et al. (October 25, 2022)
Retrieved October 25, 2022 from https://aacrjournals.org/cancerrescommun/article/2/10/1255/709909/Comprehensive-Characterization-of-the-Multiple
Pilcher, W., Thomas, B.E., Bhasin, S.S. et al. (January 26, 2023)
Retrieved January 26, 2023 from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41525-022-00340-x
The MMRF CureCloud is one of the largest longitudinal data sets in multiple myeloma, with over 1,000 patients enrolled. The data from this study is being used in ongoing research and will be made available to researchers to help accelerate a cure for each and every myeloma patient.
All the data we generate through a variety of research programs including CoMMpassSM and CureCloud® will ultimately be stored and shared with other researchers through the MMRF’s Virtual Lab®. We know that driving scientific advances for patients happens more quickly when we work together—that’s why we’ve invested in a data architecture, analytics, and sharing platform to enable better collaboration with our data in Virtual Lab®.
As a leading funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has supported nearly 400 research grants at over 200 institutions worldwide.
The MMRF supports innovative research efforts in the most promising areas of science through several grant-making programs.
The MMRF believes that we can make more research progress and achieve better outcomes for patients if the researchers and care teams for myeloma patients are more representative of the patients they serve.
This MMRF Scholars Program will provide financial support for qualified Black and African American researchers and clinicians (MD or PhD) currently active, or interested in pursuing a career, in the field of multiple myeloma.
Awardees will be provided with up to $100,000 per year for 4 years to support their career development as researchers in multiple myeloma from post-doctoral to first tenure-track position.
The application process for the 2024 MMRF Scholars Program will open soon.
In order to continue to attract young researchers to the field of myeloma, the MMRF Research Fellow Award Program is an initiative supporting researchers at the post-doctorate, medical fellow or junior faculty levels working under the supervision or guidance of a research mentor in the multiple myeloma field.
The MMRF will provide $150,000 in research funding over two years to successful applicants who seek to learn more about the biology of multiple myeloma, and identify new approaches to monitor for and treat the disease.
Dimitra Karagkouni, PhD
Characterizing the T cell receptor-antigen dynamics in multiple myeloma
Santiago Thibaud, MD
Screening for pathogenic germline variants in multiple myeloma
Luz Moreno-Rueda, PhD
Development of LAMP5 as a prognostic biomarker in multiple myeloma
Orlando (Bonell) Patino-Escobar, MD
Multiple myeloma cell surface antigens in NK cell inhibition and exhaustion
Ioannis Kostopoulos, PhD
Bone marrow microenvironment during the natural history of multiple myeloma
We are pleased to announce $21 million in grants supporting new myeloma research initiatives
The topics of focus are:
Each grant will support multicenter translational research projects for 3 years. The output of these preclinical research programs will be cogent clinical hypotheses ready for rapid clinical trial deployment.
The application process for the MMRF Myeloma Accelerator Challenge Program Grants has closed. For more information about grant opportunities, please contact [email protected].