Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Is Planning $15 Million Immunotherapy Initiative

Inês Martins, PhD avatar

by Inês Martins, PhD |

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The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation will be pumping $15 million into a cancer immunotherapy initiative over the next three years.

The effort will start with the foundation asking immuno-oncology experts, pharmaceutical industry leaders, and government healthcare officials to identify areas of greatest need. The initiative itself will be divided into two phases: a project selection phase and a clinical-trial development phase.

Some of the initiative’s objectives include developing tests that identify patients most likely to benefit from treatments, identifying mechanisms that make cancers resistant to immunotherapies, and accelerating the development of promising combinations of myeloma immunotherapies.

The first phase will start with a call for applications from cancer immunology researchers around the globe. In addition to the quality of the proposals, judges will give extra weight to those that can generate quick results.

The ultimate goal of the program is to come up with immunotherapy combinations that can be tested in clinical trials, so the second phase will involve helping those who win grants get their work to the clinical-trial stage.

“Immunotherapy has transformed outcomes for patients with many kinds of cancers that previously had few effective options,” Paul Giusti, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “There is a significant opportunity to improve the efficacy of these immune agents and identify patients more likely to respond to specific immune approaches, and by applying our unique precision medicine model, we’re confident we’ll put the promise of a cure within reach.”

In related news, the foundation has announced that the first research program dedicated to the early detection and prevention of myeloma will get under way soon, thanks to a $4 million Perelman Family Foundation donation.

The Perelman Family Foundation Early Disease Translational Research Program will be established as part of what the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation calls its Prevention Project. The program’s goals include learning more about the role genes play in early myeloma progression, identifying microenvironment factors that influence early disease progression, and finding new ways to strengthen immunity against myeloma tumors.