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MMRF Partners with TGen, Van Andel, Spectrum Health in Support of Ongoing Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation today said it is partnering with several organizations in support of a 1,000-patient study launched last year focusing on the molecular segments and variation of multiple myeloma.

MMRF will partner with the Translational Genomics Research Institute, Spectrum Health, and the Van Andel Research Institute on the Relating Clinical Outcomes in MM to Personal Assessment of Genetic Profile, or CoMMpassa, study which seeks to elucidate the relationship between molecular variation and a patient's response to therapy.

TGen and Van Andel will collect and store tissue samples and extract DNA and RNA from them for analyses using next-generation sequencing technology, including whole-genome and RNA sequencing. TGen will act as a central repository where patient samples will be analyzed using various genomic platforms. Van Andel will process the samples, isolate the cancer cell populations, and prepare derivatives for genomic analyses at TGen.

Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit health system located in western Michigan, will provide analysis of BRAF genes, as well as a flow cytometric immunophenotype of each patient's myeloma.

The study is currently enrolling patients at clinical centers throughout the US.

The partnership also aims to build on the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative — a six-year, $12 million program funded by MMRF. For example, it will try to identify specific subgroups of multiple myeloma patients using sequencing tissue samples and test mutations that activate the BRAF gene, which were found in a small percentage of multiple myeloma patients in the MMGI project.

John Carpten, professor and director of the Integrated Cancer Genomics Division at TGen, said in a statement that the collaboration "will enable a much more sophisticated understanding of the molecular changes that give rise to myeloma, and that affect a patient's course of disease. We believe the collective data to emerge along the way will provide an invaluable resource for innovators to design the next significant breakthroughs against this incurable disease."

Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

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