The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Partner to Fund $500,000 in Cancer Stem Cell Research Grants

Norwalk, CT and White Plains, NY — February 16, 2009

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) have partnered to award William Matsui, MD, Johns Hopkins University, and Irving Weissman, MD, Stanford University, research grants totaling $500,000 to study the multiple myeloma cancer stem cell. Each individual grant is valued at $250,000

These grants, developed in response to input from leading cancer stem cell experts who participated in the 2008 MMRF Myeloma Cancer Stem Cell Research Roundtable, provide an unprecedented opportunity to apply existing knowledge of cancer stem cells to multiple myeloma. Ultimately, the identification and characterization of the multiple myeloma cancer stem cell will advance our understanding of drug resistance and relapse in patients with multiple myeloma and potentially lead to the development of targeted therapies that effectively treat the disease.

"The emerging field of cancer stem cell research holds enormous promise for patients—particularly those with an orphan disease, such as multiple myeloma, for which effective treatments remain limited" said Louise Perkins, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of the MMRF. "The MMRF is pleased to partner with LLS to advance this important research effort and lay the groundwork for the development of better, more effective treatments."

Many researchers believe that cancer stem cells, although few in number, are responsible for cancer's development, metastases, and recurrence.

"By putting our resources together, LLS and MMRF have identified some of the most promising researchers in the field of stem cell biology as it relates to myeloma," said John Walter, President and Chief Executive Officer of LLS. "Ultimately, the identification and characterization of cancer stem cells in myeloma may enable the development of more effective therapies."

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the plasma cell. The five-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 35%, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2008, an estimated 19,920 adults (11,190 men and 8,730 women) in the United States were diagnosed with multiple myeloma and an estimated 10,690 people died from the disease.

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 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 funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised over $110 million since its inception to fund more than 100 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 40 new compounds and approaches now in clinical trials and pre-clinical studies and has facilitated 17 clinical trials through its sister organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). For more information about the MMRF, please visit www.www.themmrf.org.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society®

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®, headquartered in White Plains, NY, with 68 chapters in the United States and Canada, is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The LLS mission: cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $600 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Last year alone, LLS made 6.3 million contacts with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.


Anne Quinn Young, M.P.H.
Program Director
(203) 652-0212 quinnyounga@www.themmrf.org

Andrea Greif
LLS Director, Public Relations
914-821-8958 andrea.greif@lls.org