Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium Opens GLP-Quality Tissue Bank

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — April 18, 2005
Leading Academic Institutions Now Rapidly Accruing Samples to Advance Drug Development in Incurable Cancer

A scarcity of high-quality tissue poses one of the greatest obstacles in developing new, targeted therapies for the patients who urgently need them. This challenge is even greater in uncommon cancers like multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the plasma cell, because quality tissue samples necessary advance research efforts are both limited in number and scattered throughout the country. Without the critical mass of tissue necessary to identify optimal genetic targets for myeloma and drugs active against these targets, new drug discoveries that offer the only hope of long-term survival for many myeloma patients remain elusive.

Now, with the creation of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium's (MMRC) state-of-the-art Tissue Bank, the MMRC is well on its way to accruing the significant volume of high quality bone marrow biopsies and peripheral blood samples necessary to truly advance research efforts in myeloma. The MMRC Tissue Bank is the only resource of its kind that integrates patient tissue samples with corresponding genomic and clinical data; this will enable researchers to identify and validate optimal molecular targets for myeloma and drugs active against these targets, as well as conduct correlative studies to determine patients' responses to current and emerging therapies.

The MMRC further sets its Tissue Bank apart by requiring that all samples are uniformly collected, analyzed, and stored in adherence with government-regulated Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standards to guarantee samples are of the highest quality. To ensure that all MMRC efforts are GLP compliant, more than 50 standard operating procedures governing the processing and handling of the tissue have been developed and are currently in place.

"With the establishment of the MMRC Tissue Bank, researchers now have access to the centralized repository of high-quality, well-annotated tissue needed to truly fast-track the development of new, lifesaving myeloma therapies," explains Kathy Giusti, president and founder of the MMRC. "This is a significant milestone for myeloma research and an important development for myeloma patients."

With its launch in August 2004, the MMRC broke new ground by bringing together leading academic institutions--including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass., Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., and University Health Network in Toronto--to speed the development of new myeloma therapies and to pursue the shared goal of a cure for myeloma. The MMRC Tissue Bank, along with state-of-the art data systems, lies at the heart of this innovative, collaborative model.

The MMRC Tissue Bank operates under the guidance Dr. Rafael Fonseca, Mayo Clinic, a leading expert in multiple myeloma genetics whose laboratory has extensive experience in tissue banking and processing.

"MMRC Member Institutions are now rapidly accruing tissue and we are constantly evaluating samples to continually improve their quality and to ensure data integrity," said Dr. Fonseca, director of the MMRC Tissue Bank. "The MMRC Tissue Bank now serves as an invaluable resource for the myeloma community and we are incredibly proud of the role it will play in accelerating drug development in myeloma."

About the MMRC

The Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) is a 509a3 non-profit organization that integrates leading academic institutions to accelerate drug development in multiple myeloma. The organization was founded by Kathy Giusti, the founder and president of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which is an early investor in the MMRC. The MMRC was created to rapidly address critical challenges in accelerating drug development and explore opportunities in the most promising areas of myeloma research. The MMRC is the only consortium to join academic institutions through membership agreements, customized IT systems and an integrated tissue bank. For more information, please visit www.themmrc.org.