December 3, 2020, Norwalk, Conn. and Boston, Mass. – Today, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute jointly announced a pioneering research collaboration in smoldering myeloma (SMM), a precursor disease to multiple myeloma. Combining the strengths of the MMRF, a leader in multiple myeloma data generation, and Dana-Farber, a leader in SMM research, the initiative aims to revolutionize how SMM patients are treated. The ultimate goal is to identify markers of high-risk SMM and develop new treatment strategies that could delay or prevent progression to active multiple myeloma.
“Recent research efforts driven by the MMRF and our partners have identified potential genomic and immune markers that may drive myeloma risk and progression,” said Daniel Auclair, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of the MMRF. “This collaboration with Dana-Farber will accelerate and enhance our knowledge of risk factors, allowing us to more precisely identify those patients at higher risk of progression to active disease, and laying the groundwork for future transformative, and possibly curative, clinical trials.”
Through this MMRF-funded initiative, 500 SMM patients enrolled in Dana-Farber’s PROMISE or PCROWD studies will now have the opportunity to join the MMRF CureCloud study and donate their blood samples and medical records. Dana-Farber initiated the PCROWD and PROMISE studies to actively screen for and study patients with myeloma precursor diseases to help define how disease progression occurs and develop therapies to prevent it. CureCloud is a first-of-its-kind, direct-to-patient research initiative to create a massive hub of genomic and clinical data in myeloma that includes a first-of-its-kind in-home genomic test using a liquid biopsy (blood sample), producing results that are returned directly to patients and their physicians.
Participating patients will have their myeloma DNA sequenced in the CureCloud’s MM-70 genomic sequencing test and share data from their electronic health records (EHR). Dr. Auclair will present the MM-70 liquid biopsy assay at this year’s virtual American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. These data will be linked with each patient’s whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing data, circulating tumor cell data, and single-cell RNA sequencing data from both tumor and immune cells, forming the most complete picture of SMM ever assembled. All patient data will be de-identified and securely stored in the CureCloud database.
Currently, the rate of progression from SMM to multiple myeloma is 10% per year, but some patients have a higher risk of rapid progression based on risk factors such as the presence of certain genomic abnormalities. While the current standard of care for SMM is to “watch and wait” until patients progress before providing treatment, recent clinical trials show that treating high-risk SMM patients can result in an increased time to progression from SMM to active multiple myeloma, giving patients more time before developing symptoms.
“This revolutionary collaboration with the MMRF will enable us to build the most comprehensive data set for smoldering multiple myeloma,” said Irene Ghobrial, MD, Director of the Clinical Investigator Research Program at Dana-Farber and a Principal Investigator of the PROMISE and PCROWD studies. “Additionally, patients who participate will receive their genomic test results, which may be helpful in determining their risk of progression to active myeloma and identifying future clinical trials.”
The MMRF has led research efforts to identify genomic and immune markers of high-risk multiple myeloma via their CoMMpass Study, a longitudinal observational study which follows over 1,100 myeloma patients from diagnosis over at least eight years of their disease course, gathering molecular, immune, and clinical data. This study, which is among the largest genomics data sets of any cancer, has led to more than 100 peer-reviewed abstracts and publications. The MMRF and Dana-Farber have led more recent efforts in the area of myeloma prevention in collaboration with the Perelman Family Foundation and several leading myeloma academic centers, resulting in discoveries around genomic markers of risk in precursor conditions such as SMM and MGUS (Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance), as well as potentially even earlier genomic predictors such as CHIP (Clonal Hematopoiesis of Indeterminate Potential).
About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
A pioneer in precision medicine, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) seeks to find a cure for all multiple myeloma patients by relentlessly pursuing innovations that accelerate the development of precision treatments for cancer. Founded in 1998 by Kathy Giusti, a multiple myeloma patient, and her twin sister Karen Andrews as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the MMRF has created the business model around cancer—from data to analytics to the clinic. The MMRF identifies barriers and then finds the solutions to overcome them, bringing in the best partners and aligning incentives in the industry to drive better outcomes for patients. Since its inception, the organization has collected thousands of samples and tissues, opened nearly 100 trials, helped bring 13 FDA-approved therapies to market, and built CoMMpass, the single largest genomic dataset for any cancer. Today, the MMRF is building on its legacy in genomics and is expanding into immune-oncology, as the combination of these two fields will be critical to making precision medicine possible for all patients. The MMRF has raised nearly $500 million and directs nearly 90% of the total funds to research and related programs. To learn more, visit www.themmrf.org.
About Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of the world’s leading centers of cancer research and treatment. Dana-Farber’s mission is to reduce the burden of cancer through scientific inquiry, clinical care, education, community engagement, and advocacy. We provide the latest treatments in cancer for adults through Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and for children through Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Dana-Farber is the only hospital nationwide with a top 10 U.S. News & World Report Best Cancer Hospital ranking in both adult and pediatric care.
As a global leader in oncology, Dana-Farber is dedicated to a unique and equal balance between cancer research and care, translating the results of discovery into new treatments for patients locally and around the world, offering more than 1,100 clinical trials.
Director, PR and Communications
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)