MMRF, University of Michigan to Begin Personalized Multiple Myeloma Profiling Initiative

Inês Martins, PhD avatar

by Inês Martins, PhD |

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Personalized Multiple Myeloma Profiling Initiative

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and the University of Michigan have partnered to provide multiple myeloma patients and their doctors access to personal genomic information which can help guide treatments based on genomic alterations.

Over the course of the two-year Molecular Profiling Initiative (MPI), the two institutions aim to perform free clinical-grade genomic sequencing (CLIA) on bone marrow and peripheral blood samples from 500 relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma patients. The data will then be evaluated for alterations in 1,700 cancer-related genes.

The patients will provide bone marrow and peripheral blood samples at Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute; the City of Hope; Baylor University Medical Center; the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center; The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center; Hackensack University Medical Center; Virginia Cancer Specialists; Mount Sinai Hospital; Princess Margaret Medical Centre; and Washington University Medical Center.

The samples will then be sent to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center for sequencing. Other participating collection centers will be added later.

“We are excited to work with the MMRF to bring comprehensive precision oncology approaches to multiple myeloma patients,” Arul Chinnaiyan, PhD, director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a press release. “Through this effort we hope to determine the utility of genomic sequencing in nominating potential clinical trials and therapies based on the molecular features of an individual’s cancer.”

The MMRF Molecular Profiling Initiative is part of the MMRF’s mission to accelerate the development of next generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend patients’ lives and lead to a cure. MMRF brings treatment to multiple myeloma patients 60% faster than average by collaborating with the best in class partners in the U.S. and throughout the world.

De-identified information generated from the MPI will complement and amplify current datasets from MMRF’s Multiple Myeloma Genomic Initiative (MMGI) and the MMRF CoMMpass trial, a landmark initiative in cancer research utilizing 1,000 patients who provide tissue samples when first diagnosed and then each time there is a change in treatment. Mapping each patients’ genomic profiles and following the clinical outcomes will allow the development of a more complete understanding of patients’ responses to treatments.

Data from MMGI, CoMMpass and other ongoing trials have shown the variability of genomic alterations in multiple myeloma between patients, and in the same patient, at different stages of the cancer — emphasizing the importance of making more precise treatments for multiple myeloma. The studies also found that more than 50% of patients with multiple myeloma carry “actionable” genetic alterations that can be treated with already available drugs.

“Precision medicine is rapidly becoming a reality for myeloma patients,” said Daniel Auclair, PhD, senior vice president of research at MMRF. “Efforts like the MPI are essential to identify new treatment options, especially for relapsing individuals, and advance a new generation of tailored therapeutics for MM.”