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The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Announces Winners of Targeted Theraputics Initiative


NEW CANAAN, Conn. — March 14, 2005
Researchers receive funding to validate promising targets for myeloma therapy

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), the world's largest private funder of myeloma-specific research, today announced the awarding of three grants worth $400,000 to researchers focused on identifying and validating molecular targets that have strong therapeutic potential.

The three grants were awarded to: James E. Bradner, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Robert Orlowski, MD, PhD of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Allan M. Weissman, MD of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute-Frederick. Dr. Bradner is a research fellow and physician/scientist at Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT; Dr. Orlowski is the Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Dr. Weissman is the Chief, Laboratory of Protein Dynamics and Signaling Center for Cancer Research at the NCI - Frederick.

These researchers were awarded funding following a two-phased review process. The first phase invited researchers to submit a short proposal on validation of a molecular target for myeloma treatment. A subset of researchers were then invited to present their proposal before a panel of reviewers and their peers, from which the three award recipients were selected.

Dr. Bradner's and Dr. Orlowski's work independently build upon what has been learned about the mechanism of action of bortezomib (Velcade), i.e., the inhibition of protein degradation processes. According to Dr. Bradner, "Our work has direct implications for the mechanism of bortezomib resistance, the impact of chemical biology, the role of academic institutions in drug discovery, and the future treatment of multiple myeloma."

MMRF Research Award winners are selected following a rigorous peer-review process by the MMRF's esteemed Scientific Advisory Board using guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Last year, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) approved the MMRF's research grants program, finding that it meets the same rigorous scientific standards the NCI applies to its own research grant review process. The MMRF is one of nine private, charitable research organizations in the United States to receive approval since the NCI started the program nearly 10 years ago.

Through its grants program, the MMRF supports efforts in the most promising areas of myeloma research, including targeted therapeutics, immune therapy, and genomics. In the past, this funding has brought scientific breakthroughs from the laboratory to the clinic and has often led to early clinical trials in multiple myeloma. Most notably, the MMRF has contributed funding to the development of more than 10 different compounds that are now in development or are commercially available to treat multiple myeloma.

"The MMRF is pleased to support the early target identification and validation work of these researchers," said Anne Quinn Young, MPH, Program Director of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. "Through better understanding of which targets strongly influence the course of the disease, significant progress can be made toward effectively treating this fatal disease."

Founded in 1998, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is the largest non-profit foundation dedicated to the single mission of accelerating the search for a cure for multiple myeloma. The Foundation has quickly become the world's number-one private funder of myeloma-specific research, supporting innovative efforts in the most promising areas of cancer research, including targeted therapies, immune therapy and genomics. To date, the MMRF has raised more than $50 million and has funded more than 50 research institutions around the globe, bringing scientific breakthroughs from the laboratory to the clinic and laying the groundwork for promising, new treatments.

The MMRF is committed to educating and informing patients, caregivers and physicians of the latest therapeutic approaches in multiple myeloma through symposia, teleconferences, and its cutting-edge website. To learn more about the MMRF and its programs, call 203-972-1250 or visit www.themmrf.org.

For information, contact:
Anne Quinn Young, MMRF, 203-652-0212, quinnyoung@www.themmrf.org