The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) has announced two open access gateways, the MMRF Researcher Gateway, which will upload genomic data as it becomes available and make it accessible to all researchers, and the MMRF CoMMunity Gateway, which will aggregate subtypes of myeloma patients and help them find treatments and clinical trials specific to their needs. The announcement was made before 200 doctors, researchers, scientists, and philanthropists at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in New York.
MMRF CoMMpass Study
Powering the MMRF Researcher Gateway is the MMRF CoMMpass Study, which was launched in 2011, and aims to follow 1,000 patients from initial diagnosis through treatment, over a minimum of 5 years. Study researchers will conduct sequential tissue samplings to identify how patients’ molecular profiles affect their disease progression and individual response to treatment. For example, bone marrow tissue samples will be taken before treatment starts and genomically sequenced. New tissue samples will be taken and genomically sequenced again following remission and each time the patient relapses.
Fifty centers in the United States and Europe are enrolling patients and have committed to openly share data via the Researcher Gateway portal. To date, 300 patients are enrolled in the study and the MMRF expects the remaining 700 patients to be enrolled by the end of next year.
Harnessing the Power of Precision Medicine
According to Kathy Giusti, MMRF founder and CEO, there are at least 10 subtypes of multiple myeloma, and each patient carries several types of myeloma cells. Once the patient relapses there are typically over 50 gene mutations. Understanding the various subtypes of myeloma will help researchers determine the right combination of drugs to treat each specific subtype, providing precision medicine for each patient.
“There has never been a more optimistic and promising time for advancements and cures for multiple myeloma,” said Ms. Giusti in a statement. “Breakthroughs in a complicated cancer, such as [myeloma] can only be obtained through unfailing commitment from our scientists, clinicians, pharmaceutical partners, patients, and technology partners.”
Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer. According to the MMRF, the 5-year survival rate for the cancer is approximately 41%, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2013, more than 20,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma and nearly 11,000 people will die from the disease.
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Open Access Gateways