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MMRF Funded Grants

As the leading funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has supported more than 325 research grants at over 125 institutions worldwide. The MMRF supports innovative research efforts in the most promising areas of multiple myeloma research through several grant-making programs. Please use the filtering options on the left side of this page to sort through the past MMRF grants shown below.

Please note that grant information for 1997-2005 has not yet been uploaded; thank you for your patience as we work to include this information.

Non-Genotoxic activators of p53 as therapy for multiple myeloma
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Validation of Novel Compounds
Location: United States Institution: Mayo Clinic Rochester
Amount: $87,825 Investigator: Shaji Kumar
Multiple Myeloma results in 12,000 deaths each year and remains incurable. Understanding disease biology and developing treatments targeted towards specific abnormalities remains the need of the hour. Programmed cell death is a mechanism by which abnormal cells are removed. This is not fully functional in myeloma, and allows cancer cells to survive indefinitely and resist treatments. Here we aim to study a novel drug that can stimulate a protein that normally induces cell death in damaged and cancerous cells. We believe that such treatments can also make the cancer cells more susceptible to currently available treatments.

Type I MAGE mRNA-pulsed dendritic cell vaccines for multiple myeloma
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Validation of Novel Compounds
Location: United States Institution: New York University School of Medicine
Amount: $100,000 Investigator: Hearn Cho
Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the blood. Our laboratory is investigating a promising new treatment for this disease: cancer vaccines. The immune system finds and kills bacteria and viruses by molecular tags called ��_antigens.��_ Vaccines made with antigens stimulate immunity that kills microbes. We discovered that myeloma cells also have antigens that can be targeted by the immune system. We are testing myeloma antigen vaccines under laboratory conditions to determine if they can stimulate protective immunity against myeloma. These studies will lead to clinical trials in myeloma patients in the pursuit of long-term cures for this disease.

Preclinical Investigation of ABT-737 in Treatment of Multiple Myeloma
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Validation of Novel Compounds
Location: International Institution: University Health Network
Amount: Not Available Investigator: Xiao-Yan Wen
The Bcl-2 family proteins play an important role in maintaining myeloma cell survival and in the development of resistance to treatment. A small molecular compound, ABT-737, has been described recently as a specific inhibitor of Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL. In this study, we will: 1) Investigate the effectiveness of ABT-737 in inducing myeloma cell death in test tubes and in animal models; 2) Study the effectiveness of combination therapy of ABT-737 with other anti-myeloma drugs; 3) Investigate ABT-737��_s mechanism of action. The goal of this study is to develop ABT-737 as a drug in treatment of multiple myeloma.

Targeting p90RSK by a highly specific inhibitor fmk in multiple myeloma
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Validation of Novel Compounds
Location: United States Institution: Emory University
Amount: $100,000 Investigator: Jing Chen
Multiple myeloma is among the most common leukemias in elder patients. Genetic abnormalites causing expression of a protein called FGFR3 or mutant Ras proteins have been found in about 15% or 40% of multiple myeloma patients, respectively. We have found a protein called p90RSK as a critical ��_partner protein��_ that may be activated (��_turned-on��_) by FGFR3 or Ras in myeloma cells. In this proposal, we will test whether p90RSK is a ��_good��_ target in myeloma treatment. We will test the ability of a drug called fmk, which is a highly specific inhibitor of p90RSK, to kill myeloma cells in cell assays and mouse disease models.

Development of Cyclin D2 Inhibitors for Treatment of Multiple Myeloma
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: Mayo Clinic Arizona
Amount: $100,000 Investigator: Alexander Stewart
Cyclin D2 is a critical achilles heel of multiple myeloma. To find drugs which target this gene we used a robotic screen of 6000 FDA approved drugs or natural compounds. We have identified a number of drugs in this screen which inhibit cyclin D2. We propose to confirm this finding in myeloma cell lines and patient samples. For the most promising drugs we will study mice to determine how to give the drug and to make sure the drug is effective in animals. We will also use a genomic strategy to gain a thorough understanding of their mechanism of action.

Characterization of Phospho-Protein Networks in Myeloma
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: International Institution: University Health Network
Amount: $100,000 Investigator: Suzanne Trudel
We will employ state of the art technologies to identify predictors of treatment response. We will use flow cytometry to analyze signaling networks in patient tumors and link this information to the tumor genetics and clinical course of the patient. This information will allow us to predict which patients will respond to specific treatment modalities. Further, as novel therapies that target signaling pathways are becoming more prevalent in the clinic this will allow for the design of treatment approaches for individual patients based on the biology of their tumor. This should lead to more effective treatments for patients with MM.

Combination of drugs and radiation for improved therapy of multiple myeloma
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: Mayo Clinic Rochester
Amount: $100,000 Investigator: Apollina Goel
Multiple myeloma causes more than 10,000 deaths each year in the USA. The average survival is approximately four years warranting the development of innovative treatment regimens. Interventions with radiation can provide significant clinical benefit for myeloma patients as myeloma cells are highly sensitive to radiation. Our recent pre-clinical results with tissue culture lines, cells from patients with active myeloma, and using a myeloma mouse model demonstrate that the drug PS-341 is a potent and selective radiosensitizer. Studies have shown that owing to genomic instability associated with multiple myeloma, recently developed drugs including PS-341 (Bortezomib) are effective in only in 20-30% of patients. It is therefore important to search other drugs that can selectively enhance the toxicity of radiotherapy to myeloma cells. We now propose to evaluate a panel of four drugs in combination with radiation. We hypothesize that a clinical benefit to myeloma patients can be achieved by combining moleculary-targeted drugs with radiotherapy. In this grant we propose to combine such drugs with radiotherapy for designing a non-myeloablative (does not require stem cell rescue) Phase I/II treatment regimen for multiple myeloma.

On the Role of cJun and cAbl in Multiple Myeloma
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Amount: Not Available Investigator: Klaus Podar
Despite recent insights into the biology of multiple myeloma (MM) and novel treatment it remains incurable. New therapies are therefore urgently needed. Adaphostin has already shown remarkable efficacy in patients with chronic myelocytic leukaemia (CML), including those resistant to Glivec, a new drug that has revolutionized treatment of CML. My preliminary laboratory data demonstrate significant anti-MM activity of adaphostin. In the proposed studies, I will delineate the molecular mechanisms of adaphostin-triggered MM killing to provide the preclinical rationale for its clinical use to improve patient outcome

Defining role of Wnt signaling in multiple myeloma: therapeutic implication
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: University of Arkansas
Amount: $96,821 Investigator: Ya-Wei Qiang
Wnt signaling is suggested to be important in survival and invasion of myeloma cells. Our previous studies demonstrated that two Wnt signaling pathways are activated in response to Wnt3a. We believe that other Wnts, including Wnt3 and Wnt5a, also play an important role in myeloma survival and invasion. We will study the role of these Wnts to such processes. We will also study strategies to interfere with their signaling. These studies will not only benefit understanding the role of Wnts in the biology of myeloma, but more importantly will help form the basis for new therapeutic strategies.

KIR��_Ligand Mismatched Natural Killer Cell Therapy for Myeloma
Year Awarded: 2006 Type of Grant: Senior Research Awards
Location: United States Institution: University of Arkansas
Amount: Not Available Investigator: Frits van Rhee
Myeloma is a cancer of bone marrow cells. Stem cell transplantation and chemotherapy can bring about remission, but myeloma eventually returns and is fatal. Mis-matched natural killer (NK) cells, given together with a patient��_s own stem cells, exert an anti-myeloma effect. I will improve NK cell therapy by pre-treatment with modified stimulator cells, resulting in more NK cells that are also more lethal. I will also investigate whether certain drugs or a new myeloma-specific antibody can sensitize myeloma cells to killing by NK cells. Combining these strategies will make NK cell therapy highly effective, resulting in a cure for myeloma.

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