As part of its $15 million Immunotherapy Initiative, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) recently awarded $7 million in funding to three innovative research programs designed to accelerate precision immunotherapies for multiple myeloma.
The initiative builds collaborative Myeloma Immune Networks of Excellence to reach this goal.
“We are thrilled to award funding to these three world-class teams whose innovative projects show great promise in advancing the potential of precision immunotherapy to extend patients’ lives,” Paul Giusti, president and chief executive officer of the MMRF, said in a press release.
“To date, precision medicine has largely been driven by genomic approaches, and our goal is to ensure that patients receive optimal treatment based on their individual genomic and immune characteristics,” he added. “These exciting programs advance the latest in immunotherapy, such as vaccines and CAR T-cell therapy, which are approaches that will undoubtedly increase our momentum towards precision medicine and a cure for every patient.”
Each of the three research projects will include sites in the United States and worldwide:
- The “Combined Chimeric Antigen Receptor Therapy (CAR-T) and Active Immunization” project, led by David Avigan, MD, from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will develop new immunotherapy combinations of CAR T-cells and personalized vaccines into the clinic as well as identify predicting factors for patient response or resistance to immunotherapy.
- The “Dissecting Immune Regulation and Dysfunction within the Bone Marrow Microenvironment” project, led by Ivan Borrello, MD, from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, will study the role of the immune system and tumor bone marrow microenvironment in myeloma progression and resistance to immunotherapy. Results will be used to develop an immune cell scoring system that predicts patient response to immunotherapies.
- The “Defining Optimal Tumor and Host Signatures for Immunotherapy of Myeloma” project, led by Ola Landgren, MD, of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will characterize the genetic, protein, and blood features of patients to identify factors that predict responses to immunotherapy and to identify new therapeutic targets.
Through the establishment of collaborative Immune Networks of Excellence, the Immunotherapy Initiative will work to advance the understanding of the immune system in myeloma progression, identify immune system changes that occur during disease progression and therapy, and develop new therapies for myeloma treatment.
If these projects are successful, a second phase of funding will advance the findings into immunotherapy clinical trials.