New Initiative Seeks to Improve Treatment for Multiple Myeloma

Myeloma Genome Project to create the largest dataset of molecular profiling for patients with multiple myeloma.

A collaborative effort between the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has given birth to the Myeloma Genome Project.

The initiative will create the largest dataset of high-quality genomic and clinical data to identify distinct molecular disease segments within multiple myeloma (MM) to help advance diagnosis, prognosis, and the treatment of patients with MM.

Details of the project, as well as initial characterization and preliminary analyses of newly diagnosed MM patient data, were presented by Brian Walker, PhD, at the 58th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

“The Myeloma Genome Project is a really exciting initiative that may change the way we manage myeloma patients,” said Gareth Moran, MD, PhD, director of the Myeloma Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

While current technology has discovered 5 major translocation groups within MM patients that have had varying effects on prognosis, the Myeloma Genome Project aims to study minor translocation and mutational groups that are often poorly described because of small sample numbers in limited data sets, according to a press release.

“Understanding the various subgroups within multiple myeloma that exhibit distinct pathogenesis and clinical behavior is critical when looking to advance new therapies, particularly when considering a targeted approach,” said Rob Hershberg, MD, PhD, executive vice president and chief scientific officer at Celgene. “We look forward to the insights that this collaboration will provide for research and for patients.”

The group established a set of 2161 patients in which whole exome sequencing (WES) (n=1436), whole genome sequencing (WGS) (n=708), targeted panel sequencing (n=993), and expression data from RNA-sequencing and gene expression arrays (n=1497) were available, according to the release. The data was collected from the Myeloma XI Trial.

“The Myeloma Genome Project expects to lead the way towards developing personalized targeted therapy to improve patient outcomes in myeloma,” said Nikhil Munshi, MD, director of Basic and Correlative Science, Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The Myeloma Genome Project has already started to integrate the diverse, large genomic data sets, and is identifying genetic information that may inform clinical targets for therapy, according to the press release.