Record-Breaking CoMMpass Results Presented at World’s Premier Hematology Event

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The world’s largest society of hematology professionals—American Society of Hematology (ASH)—kicked off its annual meeting today in San Diego. More than 20,000 clinicians, scientists, key players in pharmaceutical industries, government agencies, and nonprofit research foundations were present for the 58th ASH Annual Meeting – the indisputable premier meeting for the presentation of the latest multiple myeloma data.

Several sessions on Saturday highlighted exciting research results for multiple myeloma (MM), including a record-breaking number of talks – 19 – sharing analyses of the MMRF CoMMpass Study, which now has the largest genomics set of any cancer! We are so proud that, with our many partners, we have created such a rich data set that can be accessed by any researcher worldwide.

The CoMMpass Study is a ground-breaking effort by the MMRF to advance precision medicine for patients with myeloma by following more than 1,000 patients from diagnosis and for the next 8 years. This work will allow researchers to (1) analyze the genetic makeup of myeloma in each patient and (2) determine how patients with certain genetic changes respond to some treatments. And, from day 1, we wanted to free the data, meaning that all CoMMpass data goes into the public domain for researchers around the world – not just those involved in the study can access the data and develop new hypotheses to drive precision medicine.

To learn more about the CoMMpass data being presented at ASH, read on and watch for the Fall/Winter 2016 Accelerator, the official magazine of MMRF.

CoMMpass study data driving groundbreaking insights

A Saturday afternoon session focused on genomics, including presentations on how certain genetic mutations can predict a patient’s prognosis – whether he or she will have more or less aggressive disease.

  • One group of researchers analyzed data from the CoMMpass Study and reported that patients whose MM genomes had many mutations also had many neoantigens. These are new proteins found on the surface of MM cells. High levels of neoantigens were associated with poor survival, but they may indicate that a patient is an excellent candidate for immune therapies. Immunotherapy can use a patient’s own immune system to identify MM cells with neoantigens and then destroy them. A new class of antibodies called checkpoint inhibitors, including PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors which have shown incredible promise in some solid tumors, may benefit these patients. A PDL1-1 inhibitor, atezolizumab, is now enrolling patients to a trial within our clinical network the MMRC.
  • Another study analyzing the MMRF CoMMpass Study data identified mutations in 20 different genes that affected prognosis, confirming the existence of at least eight different subtypes of myeloma. An analysis of another data confirmed these findings. Now that these genes and subtypes have been identified, researchers can investigate whether treatments that target those genetic changes help to improve prognosis.
  • One analysis presented exciting results that could help doctors and patients in the future assess learn the same information from a patient’s blood sample as they could from a biopsy. Analysis of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is technology is currently being used by obstetricians to analyze fetal DNA for chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, and to determine gender.

Making informed treatment decisions with better disease measurement

A second afternoon session focused on measurement of minimal residual disease (MRD), the few disease cells that can remain after a course of myeloma therapy. Methods of MRD measurement are currently under assessment. MRD measurement must first be proven to be reliable before the FDA will approve its broad use. It is hoped that being able to measure MRD can help inform treatment decisions, telling a doctor how long a treatment is effective and when to try a different treatment. The MMRF has several initiatives underway, and a publication will soon be available, to support the widespread adoption of MRD testing.

  • Two investigations highlighted the power of MRD to predict outcome, comparing it to the standard analysis of complete response. MRD is able to give a clinician a better understanding of what is happening so that a patient can receive the most appropriate treatment available. Both of these studies should help to support the FDA in evaluating MRD and whether it can be used in the clinical setting in the near future.

Check here for daily updates from MMRF during ASH to stay updated on the very latest myeloma research.

Posted: December 04, 2016

16 thoughts on “Record-Breaking CoMMpass Results Presented at World’s Premier Hematology Event

  1. Marnie DeGregorio says:

    Very informative and encouraging.


  2. Margaret Burt says:

    Hi I have smoldering MM. I also have Monosomy 13 gain 7,15,ccnd 1/11q. My Doctor thinks that is why I have MM. The Kappa Free Light Chain numbers keep going up as well as the Kappa/ Lambda FLC Ratio. Alot of things keep going up and some keep dropping. Could you tell me what the chromosomal difference make and what they mean and how they affect MM? Thank-you


    1. MMRF says:

      Hi Margaret – While we direct your question to the appropriate resource, we recommend that you contact one of our dedicated nurse specialists, who should be able to provide you with a little more information. They can be reached Mon-Fri at 1-866-603-MMCT(6628)


  3. Stan Steele says:

    As the husband of Wendy who had her stem cells harvested and implanted 6 years ago it gives me great comfort to know that there are so many people around the World pasionately and cleverly researching ways to control Myeloma cells. Hopefully Wendy will repo d to new treatments as they emerge. Thank you all for working so hard. Stan Steele


    1. MMRF says:

      Thank you for your support, Stan!


  4. David Callahan says:

    This is really good news. Can the RMD be added, once approved by the FDA, to a battery of blood tests where these small amounts can be found at a very early stage?
    Mine was discovered at stage 3b six years ago after my PCP had done an 18 month search starting with a kidney doctor, going to sleep apnea and finally a bladder specialist. At the end of the 18 months I was so anemic I was having bloody noses lasting a few hours. Only then did he think to send me to an Oncologist.
    Just last week I started the first 2 infusions of Krypolis as I have now relapsed.


    1. MMRF says:

      Hi David – The addition of MRD would, as you mentioned, depend on FDA-approval and clinical trial results. Though not out of the question by any means.


  5. Ford and Doris Davis says:

    Thanks for this. Ford is in a battle for his life and it feels we are losing, waiting for more promising treatments. You give us hope, however, and we appreciate all your efforts. We only wish we had the money to seek the best treatment, as we feel we could be getting better results. But like others with limited means, we are thankful for the help and hope you give.
    Sincerely,
    Doris Davis


    1. Don Hayler says:

      I’m sorry to hear thast finances are a problem for you. What I did was consult with one of the leading MM specialists and have my doctor at home go with his treatment recommendations. I saw Dr. James Berenson in Hollywood to get recommendations, but there are many experts elsewhere. I’d be glad to discuss this either via email or phone. Get all your records together and send them to the consultant you choose. You can then get an appointment after he has had a chance to review them. This could be a telephone consult via SKYPE or an office visit. Most insurances will pay for a second opinion. Hope this helps. I’m a long-time survivor.


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