The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Funded More Than $9.5 Million in Research in 2006, Including 30 New Therapies

NORWALK, Conn. — January 25, 2007

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), the world's leading private funder of multiple myeloma research, today announced that it awarded more than $9.5 million in research grants and funding to academic centers, biotech companies and the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) in 2006. The MMRF is proud to direct an outstanding 95% of funds raised to research and related programming, making the MMRF's research grants program one of the nation's most effective and efficient.

In addition to its traditional Senior Research Awards and Fellows Awards, the MMRF in 2006 offered highly competitive research grants through four new research programs: Validation of Novel Combinations, Compound Validation, Cell Line Development and LEAD. Thirty-five research grants, totaling $6.6 million, which are at the forefront of scientific novelty and significance, were awarded to investigators from 20 institutions worldwide. Funding for the MMRC totaled nearly $4 million supporting the Genomics Initiative, pre-clinical validation of potential therapeutics and several exciting clinical trials.

"The MMRF is extremely proud to support innovative research efforts that will hopefully result in new treatment options for patients," said Stephanie Berkowitz, PhD, Research Manager of the MMRF. "In 2006, the MMRF research grants programs funded 30 different therapeutic approaches, which underscores the organization's continued commitment to accelerating the search for a cure for multiple myeloma by advancing new and improved treatments."

Validation of Novel Combinations:

Novel combination therapies and the sequencing of these therapies hold tremendous promise in treating multiple myeloma. The Validation of Novel Combinations Awards were developed to support the testing of several targeted therapeutic agents — either novel or currently available compounds — in innovative, rationally designed combinations and sequences. The MMRF awarded seven Validation of Novel Combinations Awards, totaling $700,000, to seven institutions.

Compound Validation:

With a multitude of therapeutic options under investigation for multiple myeloma, the ability to identify those that show the most potential in treating the disease is of critical importance. One of the most effective and efficient ways to do this is through preclinical validation. The Compound Validation Awards were developed to advance the science of preclinical validation in multiple myeloma. The MMRF awarded three Compound Validation Awards, totaling $500,000, to five research institutions.

Cell Line Development:

Multiple myeloma cell lines are an important research tool for validating potential therapeutics for multiple myeloma. However, very few cell lines used today truly mimic human disease. The Cell Line Development Awards were created to support efforts to develop new cell lines that are more disease-representative. The MMRF awarded two Cell Line Development Awards, totaling $200,000, to two institutions.


Leveraging Existing myeloma targets to Accelerate Drug discovery and development (LEAD), the latest example of several field-innovating programs launched by the MMRF, was created to bring together and foster collaboration between academic myeloma experts with experts in the biotechnology industry to accelerate drug discovery and development for new treatments for myeloma. The marriage of these two fields of experts will bring new therapeutic entities to testing in preclinical studies in myeloma more rapidly. The MMRF pledged up to $6 million USD to support multiple projects in this multi-year initiative. The MMRF awarded two LEAD Awards, totaling $2,400,000, to two companies.

MMRF Senior Research Award:

The MMRF Senior Research Awards provides a 2-year, $200,000 grant to investigators who have been working in blood cancer research for a minimum of 5 years. The MMRF awarded a total of $1.9 million in Senior Research Awards to 10 grant recipients.

MMRF Fellows Awards:

The MMRF Fellows Award provided a one-year $75,000 grant to researchers just entering the field of multiple myeloma who are working under the supervision of a research sponsor. The MMRF awarded a total of $600,000 in Fellows Awards to eight grant recipients.

All research grants were awarded following the same stringent peer-review process the National Cancer Institute uses for its grantmaking. The MMRF is proud to be one of only nine private charitable research organizations in the United States that has received approval from the National Cancer Institute for its research grants program. Full abstracts of the MMRF's 2006 research awards can be found at www.themmrf.org/research.

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the plasma cell, represents one percent of all cancer diagnosis and two percent of all cancer deaths. Despite recent advances in treating multiple myeloma, the five-year survival rate for multiple myeloma is only 32 percent, one of the lowest of all cancer. Approximately 50,000 people in the United States are living with multiple myeloma and an estimated 16,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Although the peak age of onset of multiple myeloma is 65 to 70 years of age, recent statistics suggest that incidence is increasing and at an earlier age.

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, a newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patient, with the unique mission of accelerating the search for a cure for multiple myeloma. As the world's number one funder of myeloma research, the MMRF has raised nearly $70 million to fund more than 215 research grants at more than 75 research institutions around the globe. Currently, the MMRF is funding more than 30 new compounds and approaches – in pre-clinical testing and Phase I, II and III clinical trials – that show promise in treating patients at all stages of the disease. For more information about the MMRF, please visit www.themmrf.org.


Vicki Vlastaris
T. 646-437-4873
E. vvlastaris@gsw-w.com