Celgene Corporation, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences announced the creation of the Myeloma Genome Project, a collaborative initiative aimed at compiling the largest dataset of high-quality genomic and clinical data to identify distinct molecular disease segments within multiple myeloma to advance diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of multiple myeloma patients. The initiative seeks to develop clinically relevant tests. Details of the project and initial characterization and preliminary analyses of newly diagnosed myeloma patient data were presented today by Brian Walker, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at the 58th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif.
"The Myeloma Genome Project is a really exciting initiative that may change the way we manage myeloma patients," said Gareth Morgan, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Myeloma Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Current technologies have discovered five major translocation groups within myeloma patients and these mutations have demonstrated varying effects on prognosis. The Myeloma Genome Project is also looking at minor translocation and mutational groups that are often poorly described due to small sample numbers in limited data sets. The group has established a set of 2,161 patients for which whole exome sequencing (WES; n=1,436), whole genome sequencing (WGS; n=708), targeted panel sequencing (n=993) and expression data from RNA-sequencing and gene expression arrays (n=1,497) were available. The data were collected from the Myeloma XI trial (UK), Intergroupe Francophone du Myeloma/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Myeloma Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
"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, M.D., Ph.D., 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 Myeloma Genome Project expects to lead the way towards developing personalized and targeted therapy to improve patient outcomes in myeloma," said Nikhil Munshi, M.D., Director of Basic and Correlative Science at the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The Myeloma Genome Project has begun to integrate these diverse, large genomic data sets and is identifying genetic information that may inform clinical targets for therapy. While analyses are not completed, the current efforts clearly demonstrate the feasibility of this approach and the project leaders plan to expand collaboration to include additional investigators and institutions and present updates at future medical and scientific meetings including publications in peer-reviewed journals.
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