Today is the first of three posts that I plan to run, focusing on the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s (MMRF) drive to advance three distinct, yet overlapping initiatives.
Following her appearance Monday morning on the highly rated Morning Joe television program, I wrote that MMRF Founder and CEO, Kathy Giusti, “opened the interview by clearly listing the three important cancer research initiatives that the MMRF is rolling out this week: big data and genomics sequencing, open access by sharing research data and empowering patients to find clinical trials that are best for them.”
The first initiative hopes to build off momentum from the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium’s (MMRC) drive to bank tissue from a large subset of multiple myeloma patients, collected in large part by 16 leading academic and community partners listed below:
– The University of Chicago
– Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
– City of Hope
– Virginia Cancer Specialists
– Hackensack University Medical Center
– Baylor Cancer Center in Dallas
-The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center
– Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
– Karmanos Cancer Institute
– Emory University
– University Health Network
– Ohio State University
– UCSF Medical Center
– Washington Universiy
– University of Michigan
– Mayo Clinic
The goal: To speed-up Phase 1/2 clinical trials; tracking metrics along the way.
I’m pleased to report that results so far have been wildly successful! With the help of these research partners–and a lot of donated money–the MMRC has been able to partner with the pharmaceutical industry to open and expedite 47 trials utilizing 24 different novel agents. What do I mean by expedite? MMRC has been able to help push the “time to trial opening” by 60%–and enrollment by 14%.
I will spend more time on the details in a future post. Personally, I feel the MMRC/MMRF laser-like focus–targeting trials that their science team feels could be exceptional difference makers, then helping to enroll patients, doing whatever it takes to get them done–is the most impressive and important work they do.
Yet there is so much more work to be done. Thus, the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative (MMGI) was formed.
I need to pause here and note; “Man, these folks love their acronyms, don’t they!” A confusing alphabet soup of overlapping programs, carefully and craftily designed by COO Walter Capone, Research Director Daniel Auclair and VP Anne Quinn Young.
A complicated organizational structure working to advance an even more complex goal. MMGI is a comprehensive molecular analysis of myeloma, using cutting-edge technologies to find identify new targets.
Think we’re done with the acronyms? HA! My friend, Purdue University researcher, Gary Blau, is going to love the next one! It’s called the MMPM.
MMPM (Multiple Myeloma Precision Medicine) links research, clinical and community activities to move toward tailored therapeutic approaches. In other words, real individualized medicine!
This is what Kathy Giusti refers to as “big data.” Finding ways to centrally compile and analyze data from thousands of different patients worldwide.
Whew! I’m exhausted just writing about it! In a nutshell, my understanding is that the MMRF/MMRC is primed and ready to rock and roll! Analytics are in place to start breaking down each and every myeloma patient’s genetic profile. This information will allow researchers to identify the triggers that cause myeloma to morph and change into so many different types of cancer, sometimes in the same patient.
BIG DATA indeed!
All of this information should also help doctors know which drugs are most likely to work best in newly diagnosed patients, based on their genetic profile.
Best of all, once grouped, cross-referenced and analyzed, this information should help researchers find a real cure.
But in order to accomplish all of this, the MMRC/MMGI/MMPM needs a lot more patient data; a lot more. Which brings us to the next post that I’m running Monday, when I reveal the MMRF’s master plan to get research hospitals and drug companies to share data freely and openly in the public domain. Now that should be interesting!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat