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Myeloma Crowd: Irene Ghobrial, MD, Dana Farber Cancer Institute

  • Broadcast in Health
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Stand Up To Cancer has announced a $10 million award to a Stand Up To Cancer Dream Team focused on revolutionizing the treatment of multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer of plasma cells, through early detection of precursor conditions before they turn into full-blown disease. 

The team will be led by Irene Ghobrial, MD at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston and Ivan M. Borrello, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

The hypothesis of this proposal is that early detection of MGUS/SMM in a high-risk population, along with a good understanding of the molecular and immune factors that lead to disease progression, will lead to effective strategies that intercept disease progression and improve survival.

The Dream Team proposes to conduct a screening study of individuals over the age of 45, who are at a high risk for having MGUS or SMM, such as African-Americans and individuals who have a first-degree relative that has been diagnosed with a plasma cell disorder. This study will be called the PROMISE study. We will focus on these populations because they are two to three-fold more likely than others to have these precursor conditions.

The Team expects to screen 50,000 individuals to obtain 3,000 MGUS/smoldering myeloma cases to intensively study and follow over time. The Dream Team will study this group in an effort to define biological characteristics that will help to identify which patients will benefit from particular therapies. These biological characteristics include inherited mutations, acquired mutations, and immune factors. The Dream Team will also identify lifestyle and demographic factors that contribute to disease progression, such as obesity and race.

The Dream Team will use this information to develop new therapeutics that that can be used to prevent myeloma from progressing.