City of Hope has joined the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC), a collaboration of 11 research institutions nationwide that are working together to accelerate therapies to treat multiple myeloma. Researchers from the various institutions investigate the most promising areas of myeloma research, including genomics and the development of new drugs, and participate jointly in clinical trials.
“This is an opportunity for our researchers to participate with other top cancer institutions to exchange ideas that will help accelerate the finding of a cure for this disease,” said George Somlo, M.D., director of the Multiple Myeloma Program at City of Hope, who is leading the effort for the institution.
Kathy Giusti, founder and chief executive officer of the MMRC, said that consortium members are excited that City of Hope has joined the group. “It is our hope that our collaborative research efforts in genomics, validation and clinical trials will result in the rapid development of better, more effective treatments for myeloma,” Giusti said.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, immune system cells in bone marrow that produce antibodies. According to the MMRC, multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer. About 46,000 people in the United States are living with multiple myeloma and physicians diagnose about 14,600 new cases each year.
Giusti, herself a myeloma survivor, founded the MMRC in 2004 with the help of the scientific community. It serves as an optimal research model to rapidly address critical challenges in accelerating drug development and exploring promising opportunities in myeloma research. The MMRC has established a tissue bank, the only repository of its kind, which provides researchers with the critical mass of high-quality myeloma tissue needed to advance their research efforts. The tissue bank serves as an important resource in enabling researchers to initiate strong preclinical validation efforts — a critical step in developing effective, targeted therapies for myeloma.