NEW YORK — The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) said on Thursday that it has awarded three grants worth a combined $21 million to fund research using omics and other technologies to study and treat the blood cancer.
The grants, worth $7 million apiece and running for three years, focus on two areas of unmet need in multiple myeloma: optimizing first-line therapy for high-risk newly diagnosed patients and improving identification of high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), which is an early, asymptomatic stage of the disease.
Recipients of the grants include a multi-institute research team developing an improved definition of high-risk SMM through the generation and analysis of new patient data, which could help in identifying patients who would benefit from early interventions, the types of treatments that could best help these patients, and those at low risk for disease progression. Institutes participating in this grant include Emory University, Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The second grant was awarded to investigators from Erasmus Medical Center, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, and the University of Turin who are using systems biology to establish an integrated definition of high-risk multiple myeloma, which could aid in the development of new treatments.
The last grant was awarded to scientists using CRISPR genome editing and other technologies to analyze a large cohort of patient samples at the genomic and immune level to better understand the drivers of high-risk multiple myeloma. The effort is being led by researchers from Mount Sinai with collaborators from Albert Einstein Medical College, Hackensack University Medical Center, Stanford University Medical Center, University of California San Francisco, and Washington University of St. Louis.
"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," MMRF President and CEO Michael Andreini said in a statement. "Bringing together diverse teams … 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."