Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has announced a $20 million commitment from Paula C. and Rodger O. Riney in support of research aimed at improving treatment options and outcomes for patients with multiple myeloma.
The gift will create the Paula C. and Rodger O. Riney Blood Cancer Research Initiative Fund and boost support for research carried out by a team of physicians and scientists at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and WUSTL School of Medicine. That work includes efforts to refine a promising immunotherapy technique called CAR-T cell therapy; comprehensively characterize the genomes and proteomes — the collection of proteins — of multiple myeloma patients and mine the data to identify new personalized treatment options aimed at the unique genetic makeup of patients cancer cells; and use a unique 3D tissue-engineered bone marrow created from individual patient cells to screen medications and determine the most effective treatment. With the gift, the Rineys have now given $25 million to the School of Medicine for multiple myeloma research.
Although new drugs have been approved for multiple myeloma in recent years, some patients respond exceptionally well to the new therapies while others don't — and scientists don't know why. And even for patients who respond positively to treatments, the cancer almost always returns.
The founder of the discount brokerage firm Scottrade, Rodger Riney was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2015 and is being treated at the Siteman Cancer Center. "Siteman and Washington University are gems to have in St. Louis," said Riney, who serves on the board of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. "I feel fortunate to be under the care of their physicians and researchers, and proud to invest in the advancement of leading-edge research."
"Day in and day out, I see the struggles of patients fighting this disease — many of them experience weakness, fatigue, and debilitating bone pain," said John F. DiPersio, Siteman deputy director and chief of the Division of Oncology at the School of Medicine. "While we have more treatment options than ever, the disease is clever and comes back. The Rineys' gift provides an extraordinary boost to our research efforts aimed at advancing personalized care for multiple myeloma patients. We are working to translate the Rineys generosity into a new wave of treatments that will benefit patients for years to come."