MMRF Answer Fund

The MMRF is investing $5 million to launch “The MMRF Answer Fund,” a multifaceted effort to address important questions facing the multiple myeloma community and to advance precision medicine. The Answer Fund will leverage the landmark MMRF CoMMpass study, which is the largest collection of genomic data of any cancer, tracking more than 1,100 myeloma patients over 8 years.

The first question studied as part of the Answer is around how to define and treat high-risk patients. Despite the tremendous progress made and the many new therapeutics approved in the past few years, nearly 20% of multiple myeloma patients pass away from the disease within 3 years of diagnosis. To address this challenge, the MMRF launched in 2017 an Answer Fund High Risk Initiative and Request for Proposal to fund innovative projects aimed at identifying the next generation of therapeutic targets and/or pathways or biomarkers for high risk multiple myeloma (MM).

In keeping with the MMRF mission to find a cure for multiple myeloma by relentlessly pursuing innovation that accelerates the development of next-generation treatments to extend the lives of patients, thoughtful consideration should be given to translation of the findings on a given target(s) from the bench to the clinic. Two teams of scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Emory University have been selected, to share these battle fields against the MM with the MMRF and the community of patients.

A first group of researchers from Dana-Farber led by Dr Mitsiades will use data from CoMMpass to identify genes that will then be validated through leading edge gene modifying technologies such as CRISPR in innovative new mouse models. Dr Mitsiades’ research focuses on bench-to-bedside translation of novel therapeutics for multiple myeloma (MM) and on defining mechanisms of cooperation between microenvironment-driven and genetically-determined mechanisms of tumor cell resistance to conventional and investigational therapies.

The second team of researchers led by Dr. Boise from Emory University will leverage the treasure trove of genomic and transcriptomic data generated through CoMMpass to evaluate novel high risk ‘signatures’ in cohorts of patients with early relapse myeloma. Furthermore, they will use the CoMMpass dataset to determine underlying mutations, copy number variants (CNVs), structural variants, and transcriptional profile that distinguish lgl translocation-positive myeloma from others.

MMRF is honored to work with the team of brilliant scientists and looking forward in providing a forum to gather input from their latest discoveries to drive more efficient translation of discovery-to-clinic for patients. MMRF strongly believe that those efforts will accelerate the discovery of new therapeutics to optimize the current treatments, MMRF will hold annual meetings.