The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation has announced grants totaling $7 million in support of three research programs led by renowned myeloma researchers.
The principal investigators and their projects, each of which will include several sites in the United States and abroad, are David Avignan, a professor of medicine and the section chief of bone marrow transplantation and hematologic malignancies at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, whose project will focus on the development and advancement of novel immune therapy (drug) combinations of CAR-T and personalized vaccines in clinical trials and the identification of factors that predict patient response or resistance to immune therapy; Ivan Borrello, associate professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who is working to understand the role that the patients' immune systems and tumor bone marrow microenvironment play in disease progression; and Ola Landgren, chief attending physician of Myeloma Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, whose project involves a detailed characterization of the genetic, protein, and serological features in patients and their tumors to identify factors predictive of their response to immune therapy and to identify new therapy targets.
Part of the foundation's $15 million Immunotherapy Initiative, the grants will leverage MMRF's end-to-end precision medicine model to ensure that patients receive the most appropriate treatment based on their specific characteristics. By forming highly collaborative, multidisciplinary Immune Networks of Excellence, the initiative works to advance scientists' understanding of the immune system in myeloma progression, identify and characterize changes in the patient's immune system that occur during disease progression and therapy, and develop novel immune therapies for multiple myeloma treatment.
"We are thrilled to award funding to these three world-class teams whose innovative projects show great promise in advancing the potential of precision immunotherapy to extend patients' lives," said Paul Giusti, president and chief executive of MMRF. "To date, precision medicine has largely been driven by genomic approaches, and our goal is to ensure that patients receive optimal treatment based on their individual genomic and immune characteristics. These exciting programs advance the latest in immunotherapy, such as vaccines and CAR T-cell therapy, which are approaches that will undoubtedly increase our momentum towards precision medicine and a cure for every patient."