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The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Announces Four Leading Academic Cancer Centers as Clinical Sites for Landmark Study


Academic and community sites are critical clinical partners in CoMMpass study to advance personalized treatments for patients

Norwalk, CT — December 19, 2011

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) today announced that four leading cancer centers are enrolling patients as part of the landmark 1,000-patient study designed to characterize the genetic variation in multiple myeloma. The CoMMpass(SM) Study (Relating Clinical Outcomes in MM to Personal Assessment of Genetic Profile) will be key in developing and advancing new, targeted treatments for patients and informing treatment approaches. The study will enroll at least 1,000 newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients who have not yet begun treatment, and will track the patients over a minimum of 5 years. Sequential tissue sampling during the study will help to identify how a patient’s molecular profile may affect his or her clinical progression and individual response to treatment. The four cancer centers include: Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas; the Washington University School of Medicine Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta; and the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center in Illinois.

“This study represents true innovation in the way treatments for multiple myeloma will be studied and characterized, and will provide invaluable insight into the way patients are treated and new, targeted medications are advanced through clinical trials,” said Sagar Lonial, M.D., Professor, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute and Principal Investigator of the CoMMpass Study. “This study is powered to elucidate data that will make a notable and much-needed difference for patients suffering from this disease.”

These four leading cancer centers join the MMRF's recently announced first four clinical partners: Virginia Cancer Specialists in Fairfax, VA; John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ; Waverly Hematology Oncology in Cary, NC; and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. The CoMMpass Study also builds on genomics research and key learnings from the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative (MMGI) which resulted in the first map of the multiple myeloma genome, to better understand and characterize the variability in multiple myeloma and deliver personalized therapies to patients.

“We believe the CoMMpass Study will provide us with a greater understanding of molecular variability in this disease and supply 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,” said Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the MMRF and Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, and a multiple myeloma patient. “The efficiency of the launch of this landmark study in a mere five months demonstrates the power that collaboration among industry, academia and clinics brings to the research and development drug development process.” The MMRF will continue to 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 38 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 nearly 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 (MMRC)
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 MMRC offices in Norwalk, Conn., and comprises 16 member institutions. Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, City of Hope, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute, the 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 a sister organization to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), the world's leading 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 the 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.

Contacts:

MMRF
Anne Quinn Young, 203-652-0212
quinnyounga@themmrf.org
or
Feinstein Kean Healthcare
Krystle Ficco, 617-761-6702
Krystle.Ficco@fkhealth.com
or

Centers:

Baylor Research Institute
Kristine Hughes, 214-820-7556
Kristine.Hughes@baylorhealth.edu
or
Washington University Medical
Joni Westerhouse, 314-286-0100
westerhousej@wustl.edu
or
Emory University
Vince Dollard
vdollar@emory.edu
or
University of Chicago Medical Center
John Easton, 773-795-5225
john.easton@uchospitals.edu