Called Immune Atlas, the pilot aims to establish a “gold standard” immune profiling platform for multiple myeloma research studies, and to produce the kind of strong immune and genomic data necessary for personalized medicine delivery. Precision medicine is an approach that uses genetic tests to tailor treatment according to each patients’ need.
“Immunotherapy has transformed outcomes for patients with many kinds of cancers that previously had few effective options,” Paul Giusti, MMRF president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
“Progress in immunotherapy in myeloma has been gradual because of the complexity of the disease and a fragmented research effort. As the leader in precision medicine, we are now seeking to accelerate immune agents into the clinic for myeloma patients and ensure that each patient receives treatment that is specific for their immune profile,” he added.
The pilot will use partners from top academic centers to characterize the immune profile and activity of important cell populations in myeloma patients. Members of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC), these centers are Emory University, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Washington University, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
“The great strength of the MMRF is the ability to bring partners together to collaborate on efforts that advance cures for myeloma patients,” said Daniel Auclair, PhD, MMRF chief scientific officer. “We are so fortunate to have these five best-in-class institutions as members of our Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium who can bring cutting-edge scientific analysis to bear on the most pressing needs of our patients.
“Once this immune profiling platform is validated, it can be rolled out to bring the promise of precision immunotherapy to the entire myeloma community.”
The pilot program is part of the organization’s three-year plan that focuses partly on generating meaningful immune information to support precision immuno-oncology efforts. As such, Immune Atlas was a key discussion topic at the MMRF Immune Summit 2019 held in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Therapy advancement is hampered by variability in current approaches to immune myeloma profiling. “This gap, however, is an opportunity for us to create coherent immune data requirements and guidelines and to establish a single shared repository for data,” the MMRF said on its website.
Cutting-edge technology will be used to chart interactions between tumor cells and immune cells in myeloma patients’ bone marrow. The resulting database will be maintained and enhanced as new research is added. The goal is for information gathered to identify new targets for treatment development, and ultimately enable clinicians to tailor therapies that best suit patients’ immune systems.
The 25-member MMRC marries academic and community cancer centers with industry to advance early phase clinical trials of promising therapy candidates. The MMRF pursues innovations that advance development of precision therapies.
Roughly 30,770 adult U.S. residents are expected to develop multiple myeloma this year, according to the MMRF.