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Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Awards $2.25 Million to Advance Novel Proteomics Initiative


Norwalk, Conn. — April 2, 2008
Innovative Research Program to Identify New Biomarkers for Multiple Myeloma

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) today announced it has awarded $2.25 million to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Indiana University, and the University of Michigan through its cutting-edge Proteomics Initiative. The MMRF Proteomics Initiative is a multi-year research commitment intended to unleash the potential that proteomics research holds for the identification of new biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets in myeloma.

This MMRF Proteomics Initiative is an innovative collaborative effort among three academic medical centers with strong clinical translational research capabilities and state-of-the-art facilities. By comparing plasma cells from healthy volunteers and myeloma patients, scientists will achieve a greater understanding of the molecular basis of disease initiation and progression, and identify predictive markers that could enable personalized medicine. All data will be shared and the findings from this initiative will result in jointly authored publications.

"The MMRF Proteomics Initiative will employ cutting-edge proteomic technologies to analyze myeloma patient tissue samples and identify biomarkers that are responsible for the disease's onset and progression, as well as patients' response to treatments," said Louise Perkins, PhD, MMRF Director of Research. "Identification of these biomarkers is a critical first step in accelerating the discovery and development of new myeloma therapies."

"One of our primary aims is to understand, at the molecular level, why chemotherapy treatment is not as effective for a relapsing patient as it was during initial treatment," said Rick Edmondson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). "Understanding the changes in protein expression could pave the way for more effective treatments at every stage of the disease."

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the plasma cell. The five-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 33%, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2007, an estimated 19,900 adults (10,960 men and 8,940 women) in the United States were diagnosed with multiple myeloma and an estimated 10,790 people died from the disease.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)

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 urgently and aggressively fund research that will lead to the development of new treatments for multiple myeloma. As the world's number-one funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised over $102 million since its inception to fund 70 laboratories worldwide. The payback on its investment has been significant, including the approval of four new treatments in four years alone. Today, the MMRF is supporting 30 new compounds and approaches now in clinical trials and pre-clinical studies and has facilitated 10 clinical trials through its sister organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). For more information about the MMRF, please visit www.themmrf.org.

About the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy was the first institute in the world devoted to research and clinical treatment of multiple myeloma and related disorders. Founded in 1989, by Bart Barlogie, M.D., Ph.D., the UAMS myeloma program has seen more than 7,400 patients from every state in the United States and more than 40 foreign countries and has performed more than 7,000 peripheral blood stem cell transplants.

The Myeloma Institute is part of UAMS, which is Arkansas' only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. For more information, visit www.uams.edu.

About Indiana University

The Indiana University School of Medicine is the nation's second largest medical school with more than 1,300 medical and graduate degree students on nine campuses in Indiana. The school holds more than $220 million in research grants and contracts and hosts federally designated centers of excellence in cancer, kidney disease, Alzheimer disease, alcohol research, arthritis, and sexually transmitted disease on both the pediatric and adult levels. The affiliated Regenstrief Institute is an international leader in medical informatics.

About the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center provides its patients diagnostic, treatment and support services in a collaborative environment, focused on excellence in patient care. Drawing on the strengths of the University of Michigan faculty, the Cancer Center has assembled a team of specialists who are leaders in their fields to unravel the threat of cancer and to provide care and comfort to those it afflicts. Blood cancers, including multiple myeloma, are among the top five cancers diagnosed and treated at U-M. In 2007, the U-M Cancer Center launched the Ravitz Foundation Phase I/Translational Research Center to speed the development of innovative therapies by fostering the transition from the laboratory to the bedside. For more information, please visit www.mcancer.org.

CONTACT:

Anne Quinn Young (MMRF)
T. (203) 652-0212
E. quinnyounga@www.themmrf.org