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Drive Optimal and More Personalized Treatment

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.

CoMMpassSM Study

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.

Group of people discussing CoMMpass.

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.

Groundbreaking CoMMpass℠ Findings

Further characteristics of multiple myeloma

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.

Actionable alterations for personalized treatment in the MyDRUG trial

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.

New genetic markers that identify patients at highest risk of progression

CoMMpass genomic data is helping doctors identify which patients have high-risk myeloma and may need to be treated differently than standard-risk patients. 

  • The common FISH test can identify high-risk patients but can be inaccurate. The new NGS DNA sequencing genomic test is much more accurate, leading to better treatments for high-risk patients. Patients should ask their doctor if the NGS test is available. 
  • Through CoMMpass we have learned that 10% of myeloma patients have an IgL translocation; we have also found that these patients do not respond well to Revlimid® (lenalidomide) or Pomalyst® (pomalidomide). Patients with t(IgL) (detected by a clinical test now under development) will soon be treated with more appropriate therapies and may have improved outcomes. 
  • CoMMpass continues to identify new high-risk patient groups, such as those who have lost their TP53 gene, and those who are t(4;14) who also have a mutated FGFR3 gene. Researchers are now working on developing new therapies to help patients in these groups. 
  • CoMMpass data has identified a marker for patients at high risk of progression. 25% of all patients transition to this “PR” group when they relapse, and they tend to have a shorter time of remission and worse outcomes. Identifying patients in the PR group and providing new targeted therapy options may lead to better outcomes.

Describes myeloma subtypes and risk in African Americans

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:

  • African Americans tend to have a lower-risk form of myeloma compared to other ethnicities. 
  • African Americans enrolled in the CoMMpass Study (they make up 17% of the CoMMpass patient population) have overall survival rates just as good as or better than other ethnicities. 

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.

Immune Atlas

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.

Medical researcher holding test tube.

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.

Read the Latest Immune Atlas Publications

MMRF CureCloud®

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.

People with hands in circle.

Virtual Lab®

Healthcare professional at a computer showing strands of DNA.

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®.

Collaborative Projects
and Fellows Awards

As a leading funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has supported nearly 400 research projects at over 200 institutions worldwide.

The MMRF supports innovative research efforts in the most promising areas of science through several programs.

2024 Scholars Program

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.

The MMRF Scholars Program will provide financial support for qualified Black and African American researchers and clinicians (MD and/or PhD or equivalent degree(s)) currently active, or interested in pursuing a career, in the field of multiple myeloma.

Awardees will be provided with up to $400,000 of financial support over 4 years ($100,000/year) plus 10% indirect costs (total award $440,000) to support their career development as researchers in multiple myeloma from post-doctoral to first tenure-track position.

All applications are due on March 31, 2024 by 11:59 PM ET and must be submitted via ProposalCENTRAL.

Healthcare professional looking through microscope.

2023 MMRF Scholars Program Award Recipients

This annual initiative from the MMRF is supported by Pfizer and GSK.

Eden Biltibo, MD
Identifying Effective and Cost-Conscious Maintenance Daratumumab Dosing

Joselle Cook, MBBS
Prevalence Of MGUS Among Unique Populations Of Black People

MMRF Myeloma Omics Initiative

The MMRF is pleased to announce a new Clinical Translational Research Program, the MMRF Myeloma Omics Initiative. Successful applicants will receive access to state-of-the-art -omics platforms and analytics resources to analyze bone marrow and peripheral blood samples from patients enrolled in high-value clinical studies in multiple myeloma and precursor conditions.

Applicants must be actively conducting, or have completed, high-value clinical trials in multiple myeloma or precursor conditions and have access to viable biosamples and sample derivatives from treated patients.

All applications are due by December 31, 2025.

Medical researcher filling test tubes.

Research Fellows Award Program

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.

2022 MMRF Research Fellow Awardees

2021 MMRF Research Fellow Awardees

Francesca Cottini, MD.

Francesca Cottini, MD
The role of CD56 signaling in escaping from immune surveillance of NK cells

Praneeth Sudalagunta, PhD.

Praneeth Sudalagunta, PhD
A multiomic approach to reversing therapy resistance in multiple myeloma

Travis Johnson, PhD.

Travis Johnson, PhD
Deep learning-based identification of progression-associated myeloma cells

Myeloma Accelerator Challenge Program Projects

We are pleased to announce $21 million supporting new myeloma research projects.

The topics of focus are:

  1. Optimizing first-line therapy for high-risk newly diagnosed Multiple Myeloma (HR-NDMM)
  2. Improving identification and treatment of high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma (HR-SMM)

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 has closed. For more information about research opportunities, please contact [email protected].

Medical researcher behind test tubes in a lab.

Myeloma Accelerator Challenge Program Project Leaders

Samir Parekh, MD
Transforming Treatment of High-Risk Myeloma

Pieter Sonneveld, MD, PhD
A Systems Biology Approach to High-Risk Multiple Myeloma

Sagar Lonial, MD
Clinical & Multi-omics Platforms to Define High-Risk Smoldering Multiple Myeloma

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