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MMRF and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Announce Collaboration to Perform Whole Genome Sequencing of Multiple Myeloma Samples


Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to provide initial resources and valuable multiple myeloma tumor samples

Norwalk, CT — May 18, 2009

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) announced today a collaboration with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to systematically uncover the molecular changes underlying multiple myeloma by whole genome sequencing of individual patient tumors. The MMRF will provide both patient samples for analysis as well as funding for the project. All data from this collaboration will be put in the public domain.

"We are delighted to work with the MMRF, which has been a visionary organization in accelerating cancer research for the sake of patients and their families," said Eric S. Lander, PhD, Director of the Broad Institute. "Through our work together on this critical pilot project in whole cancer genome sequencing, we hope not only to advance clinical progress for multiple myeloma, but to build knowledge and technical capabilities that can be applied to many other human cancers."

"Three years ago, the MMRF launched a partnership with the Broad Institute and the Translational Genomics Research Institute — the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative — a comprehensive genome mapping program to identity new targets and eventually new therapies for this incurable disease," said Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the MMRF, and a multiple myeloma patient. "As part of that larger effort, we are confident that this groundbreaking research will accelerate the development of next-generation treatments to extend the lives of multiple myeloma patients. Additionally, we believe that this work will not only ultimately pave the way to a cure for patients with multiple myeloma, but will benefit patients with other types of cancer."

The creation of comprehensive catalogs of all commonly occurring cancer mutations is a current approach of several national and international consortia, including The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) led by the US National Institutes of Health and the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), to understand major tumor types such as leukemia, lung cancer, glioblastoma and others. To date, only a handful of whole cancer genomes have been sequenced and only one has been published.

"The few cancer genomes sequenced to date have been informative, but we need many more to transform cancer research and ultimately cancer therapy," said Stacey Gabriel, PhD, Co-Director of the Broad Institute's Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program. "This exciting collaboration with the MMRF will advance these goals by contributing public domain data."

About the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was founded in 2003 to empower this generation of creative scientists to transform medicine with new genome-based knowledge. The Broad Institute seeks to describe all the molecular components of life and their connections; discover the molecular basis of major human diseases; develop effective new approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics; and disseminate discoveries, tools, methods and data openly to the entire scientific community. Founded by MIT, Harvard and its affiliated hospitals, and the visionary Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad, the Broad Institute includes faculty, professional staff and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard biomedical research communities and beyond, with collaborations spanning over a hundred private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide. For further information about the Broad Institute, go to www.broad.mit.edu.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy's diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world's number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised over $120 million since its inception to fund nearly 100 laboratories worldwide. An outstanding 93% of funds raised go toward research and related programming. The MMRF has supported 40 new compounds and approaches in clinical trials and pre- clinical studies and has facilitated 19 clinical trials through its sister organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). For more information about the MMRF, visit www.www.themmrf.org.

About the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative

The Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative is a genome-mapping program designed to rapidly accelerate progress made against multiple myeloma by significantly improving the understanding of the biology of the disease. Spearheaded by the MMRF, based on analysis of samples from the MMRC's tissue bank, and conducted in collaboration with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative comprises several research and discovery efforts spanning the spectrum of genomic science and is the most comprehensive research effort of its kind. Data is placed into the public domain in near-real time via the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Portal, the world's only myeloma-specific repository of genomic data. The Portal can be accessed at www.myelomagenomics.org.

For more information, contact:

MMRF
Anne Quinn Young
203.652.0212
quinnyounga@www.themmrf.org

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Nicole M. Davis, Ph.D.M
617.258.0952
ndavis@broad.mit.edu