The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) announced today the recipients of three $7 million MMRF Myeloma Accelerator Challenge (MAC) Program Grants totaling $21 million. Each of these three-year multicenter translational projects aim to foster collaboration and advance compelling hypotheses that are ready for rapid testing in clinical trials, a critical step in the MMRF’s urgent pursuit of a cure for each and every myeloma patient.
“The MMRF makes significant strategic investments to generate robust molecular and clinical data and deliver translational research that drives better treatment options for patients,” said George Mulligan, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at the MMRF. “These MAC Grants are a critical new part of this investment, and we are excited that the programs selected will bring together multiple centers to work in highly collaborative networks. Our strategic plan identifies specific research areas that need more attention and only through multi-center collaboration can we rapidly create a large set of patients and samples suitable for new research methods.”
The MAC Grants are focused on two critical areas of unmet need in myeloma and are part of the MMRF’s strategic priority to drive optimal treatment approaches for patients. The first is optimizing first-line therapy for high-risk newly diagnosed multiple myeloma because high-risk patients often relapse early and show inferior survival compared to standard-risk patients. The next is improving identification of high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma (HR SMM); smoldering multiple myeloma is an early, asymptomatic stage that can progress to active multiple myeloma. For each research topic, the pooling of resources and samples across a network of institutions dramatically improves the ability to drive meaningful results.
“The pace of research needs to accelerate if we are to address the significant unmet needs in multiple myeloma, and the way forward will take collaboration and funding,” said Michael Andreini, President and CEO at the MMRF. “Bringing together diverse teams through our MAC Grants that normally have many barriers to working together will bring greater focus and scale to these research priorities, yielding more timely and impactful insights for patients.”
About the MAC Grant Networks
Clinical & Multi-Omics Platforms to Define High-Risk Smoldering Multiple Myeloma.
Sagar Lonial, MD, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, is leading a network of institutions including Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This team will develop an improved definition of high-risk SMM through the generation and analysis of new SMM patient data. These include use of cutting-edge technologies and a large, collaborative set of patient samples, with the goal of better defining which patients are suited for early intervention, which types of interventions can have the greatest impact, and which patients can safely be observed due to a low risk of disease progression.
A Systems Biology Approach to High-Risk Multiple Myeloma.
Prof. Pieter Sonneveld, MD, PhD, Erasmus Medical Center, is leading a European network of institutions including Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, and the University of Turin. This team will investigate what makes less responsive, high-risk patients different from other patients with multiple myeloma. By combining different aspects of the disease, researchers will compile an integrated definition of high-risk multiple myeloma, a key step towards new treatments specifically designed for these patients.
Transforming Treatment of High-Risk Myeloma.
Samir Parekh, MD, the Tisch Cancer Center at Mount Sinai, is leading a network of institutions including Albert Einstein Medical College, Hackensack University Medical Center, Stanford University Medical Center, University of California San Francisco, and Washington University of St. Louis. Using cutting-edge technologies, this team will analyze a large cohort of patient samples at the genomic and immune level to understand the critical events that drive high-risk multiple myeloma. The studies have the potential to identify new vulnerabilities that will be further studied using CRISPR gene editing in the laboratory.
About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in the US. It develops in the bone marrow and can spread throughout the body. In 2023, multiple myeloma is expected to be diagnosed in more than 35,000 Americans and take the lives of 12,000. Despite advances, most patients relapse and there is still no cure. Multiple myeloma is twice as common in the Black community compared to other ethnicities and the outcomes for Black patients are generally worse than that of white patients.
About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is the largest nonprofit in the world solely focused on accelerating a cure for each and every multiple myeloma patient. We drive the development and delivery of next-generation therapies, use data to drive optimal and more personalized treatment approaches, and empower myeloma patients with information and resources to extend their lives. Central to our mission is our commitment to advancing health equity so that all myeloma patients can benefit from the scientific and clinical advances we pursue. Since our inception, the MMRF has committed over $500 million for research, opened nearly 100 clinical trials, and helped bring 15+ FDA-approved therapies to market, which have tripled the life expectancy of myeloma patients. To learn more, visit www.themmrf.org.
Director, PR and Communications
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)