Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Makes Changes in Leadership to Advance Precision Medicine

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is growing and adjusting its executive team, with a focus on improving multiple myeloma patient outcomes and advancing its precision medicine program.

Steve Labkoff, MD, becomes the organization’s first chief data officer, while Michael Andreini is the new chief operating officer. Meanwhile, Daniel Auclair, PhD, has been promoted to chief scientific officer, and Anne Quinn Young moves up to chief marketing and development officer.

Auclair and Quinn Young have supported the MMRF for a combined total of 25 years. Auclair is responsible for the organization’s $30 million investigations portfolio, including the MMRF CoMMpass study and MyDRUG platform trial. Quinn Young will lead development, marketing and communications, and patient engagement and education programs.

Labkoff is charged with making the most of the MMRF’s data collection, aggregation, and analytics approach. He joined the MMRF after a long career in healthcare informatics. A veteran strategic consultant, Andreini will oversee daily operations and generally assist with implementation of the organization’s strategic plan. Kathy Giusti will continue in her role as founder and chief mission officer.

The organization’s long-term strategic plan emphasizes forming research partnerships, healthcare delivery, and drug development with the goal of accelerating precision medicine and supporting research into prospective cures.

“The MMRF is embarking on the next phase of an ambitious plan to accelerate major breakthroughs for patients,” Paul Giusti, MMRF president and CEO, said in a press release. “Having the right team in place is absolutely critical to executing this plan and with such talented, experienced executives joining our impressive organization, we will be well positioned for success. We are thrilled to have the team working together to make precision medicine a reality for every patient.”

Founded in 1998 by and for patients, the nonprofit’s overarching mission is to cure multiple myeloma.

As a precision medicine leader, the MMRF has been at the forefront of using genomic information to help myeloma patients and speed the development of promising treatments. This led to the first sequencing of the whole multiple myeloma genome in 2009, which then resulted in the launch of the CoMMpass study. In turn, that study identified 12 unique disease subsets. 

The organization launched MyDRUG — the first platform trial exclusively in multiple myeloma — in November to investigate targeted treatments for high-risk myeloma patients. MyDRUG is the culmination of the organization’s precision medicine model.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells help fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs. The disorder causes cancer cells to gather in bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. In the United States, according to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of getting multiple myeloma is 1 in 132.