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Dream Team Aims To Replace “Watch and Wait” with Effective Treatments

Stand Up to Cancer Announces Award To Study Improved Myeloma Interventions

Dr. Irene Ghobrial in hematology lab
Dr. Irene Ghobrial, the PROMISE Study Lead Investigator

Read the Original Press Release here.

“We tell people with precursor conditions that we will ‘watch and wait’ until it turns into multiple myeloma, with multiple tumors that can potentially cause organ damage,” Dr. Ghobrial said.

Dr. Ghobrial continues: “That’s like telling people with breast cancer or colon cancer that we are not going to do anything until the cancer metastasizes throughout the body.” “We want to change that,” she said.

The announcement of the new SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team was made at a special event during the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), SU2C’s Scientific Partner.

The Dream Team is the 23rd announced by SU2C since its inception in 2008 and the first SU2C Dream Team devoted entirely to a hematologic malignancy. The project will involve what is believed to be the first large-scale population survey in the United States for precursor conditions of multiple myeloma, specifically monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) or smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM).

Blood samples from approximately 50,000 people, recruited largely through social media, will be analyzed to find what is expected to be about 3,000 with the precursor conditions, which cause no symptoms and are usually detected only when a physician orders a blood test for another reason. Because it is unclear how to tell whether someone with MGUS or SMM will progress to full-blown multiple myeloma, the research team will follow those with the precursor conditions and will use the samples to discover biomarkers that will help predict those with a high risk of progressing. The team will also work to develop treatments for high-risk SMM and multiple myeloma.

“This Dream Team significantly expands our Stand Up To Cancer portfolio,” stated SU2C President and CEO Sung Poblete, PhD, RN. “These efforts embody the central hallmarks of Cancer Interception, as the scientists are seeking the earliest possible diagnosis of MGUS or SMM, and then proactively intervening to stop the progression of multiple myeloma.” The target population for the survey includes people with first-degree relatives who have had multiple myeloma, and African-Americans, since African-Americans are three times more likely than whites to develop the precursor conditions, and tend to develop them at an earlier age.

[The study's website] will allow people who have the specified characteristics to sign up for the survey, provide their consent, and obtain a sample kit which [a nearby lab] can use to draw blood samples and send the samples to the research team. “This Dream Team’s work has the promise of significantly changing the way we approach multiple myeloma,” said Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, institute professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Nobel laureate, and chair of SU2C’s Scientific Advisory Committee. “This is the type of forward-looking research that Stand Up To Cancer is very glad to support.”


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