Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Announces First Patient Enrolled in Landmark 1000-Patient Study, with Four World-Class Cancer Centers as First Clinical Sites

Unprecedented Research Collaboration Formed to Fuel Advancement of Personalized Treatments for Multiple Myeloma

Norwalk, CT — September 20, 2011

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) today announced that the first patient has enrolled in a landmark 1000-patient study designed to uncover the molecular segments and variations of multiple myeloma. The study is the centerpiece of the MMRF’s Personalized Medicine Initiative, CoMMpass (Relating Clinical Outcomes in MM to Personal Assessment of Genetic Profile) to rapidly propel the translation of these insights into new clinical strategies and therapeutic breakthroughs for patients.

The CoMMpass study will enroll at least 1000 newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients who have not yet initiated therapy for their disease. Researchers will track patients from initial diagnosis through their course of treatment, over a minimum of 5 years, and conduct sequential tissue sampling to identify how a patient’s molecular profile may affect his or her clinical progression and individual response to treatment. Enrollment will begin at a network of cancer centers beginning with the first four clinical sites announced today: Virginia Cancer Specialists in Fairfax, Virginia, John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey, Waverly Hematology Oncology in Cary, North Carolina and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

“We are excited to be part of this truly innovative study which will help provide valuable learnings that can be applied to how we treat patients in a much more targeted way, both in the near-term with currently available therapies, and in the long-term with even more advanced therapies that will be developed based on data from the study,” noted David S. Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., Chief, Multiple Myeloma, John Theurer Cancer Center.

“While solid advances have been made in recent years in multiple myeloma drug development, patients unfortunately still have relatively few treatment options, especially when it comes to those who have relapsed or whose disease is refractory to available drugs,” said Gregory Orloff, M.D. of Virginia Cancer Specialists. “We hope that the new drugs developed from outputs of this initiative will notably improve the outlook for these patients”

In launching this study, the MMRF is building on key resources it has developed over the past decade to address critical issues in drug development, including the success of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC), an integrated, collaborative network of 16 North American centers which has enabled more than 30 clinical trials for multiple myeloma treatment. The MMRC’s Tissue Bank has amassed thousands of high quality patient tissue samples for research use over the past decade. In addition, the MMRC’s vast experience in facilitating and expediting the conduct of early-stage clinical trials will provide a strong foundation for the ongoing translation of insights from this study into the clinic. This landmark study also expands on insights from the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative (MMGI) and its cutting-edge genomics research which resulted in the first map of the multiple myeloma genome, to gain greater understanding of the mechanism of disease and leverage that understanding to develop personalized therapies.

“We are proud to have reached this significant milestone in our efforts to spark a revolution in the treatment of multiple myeloma,” said Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the MMRF and MMRC, and a multiple myeloma patient. “We believe this study will be a key driver of innovation for years to come, by enabling a greater understanding of molecular variability in this disease, and by providing the means for our research, clinical and industry partners to turn these insights into novel treatment strategies that will drive the next generation of therapies. Launching this landmark study in an incredible five months would not have been possible without the strong leadership and commitment of our initial clinical partners, who share our vision and dedication to finding a cure for this devastating disease.”

The MMRF will expand enrollment in the study in the coming months to include multiple additional trial sites.

About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer. The five-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 34 percent, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2011, more than 20,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma and approximately 11,000 people are predicted to die from the disease.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
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 $170 million since its inception to fund nearly 120 laboratories worldwide, including 70 new compounds and approaches in clinical trials and pre-clinical studies, and has facilitated more than 30 clinical trials through its affiliate organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). As exceptional stewards of its donors' investments, the MMRF has been consistently recognized for its sound fiscal management. For more information about the MMRF, please visit www.themmrf.org.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium
The Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) is a 509(a)(3) non-profit organization that integrates leading academic institutions to accelerate drug development in multiple myeloma. It is led from the MMRC offices in Norwalk, Connecticut, and comprises 16 member institutions. Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, City of Hope, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute, John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Mayo Clinic, Ohio State University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Sarah Cannon Research Institute, University Health Network (Princess Margaret Hospital), University of California-San Francisco, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, Virginia Cancer Specialists, and Washington University in St. Louis.

The MMRC was founded in 2004 by Kathy Giusti, a myeloma patient, and with the help of the scientific community. The MMRC is an affiliate organization to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), the world's leading private funder of multiple myeloma research. The MMRC is widely recognized as an optimal research model to rapidly address critical challenges in drug development and to explore opportunities in today's most promising research areas in genomics, compound validation, and clinical trials. 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.

Media Contacts:

Eileen Regan

Krystle Ficco
Feinstein Kean Healthcare

Stacey Banks
Virginia Cancer Specialists

Amy Leahing
John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center

Gena Boyd
Waverly Hematology

Lisa La
Mount Sinai School of Medicine