Broad scientists to sequence multiple myeloma samples

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Partnership with Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation will put data in public domain

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) announced today a collaboration with the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to systematically uncover the molecular changes underlying multiple myeloma by whole-genome sequencing of individual patient tumors. The MMRF will provide both patient samples for analysis as well as funding for the project. All data from this collaboration will be put in the public domain.

“We are delighted to work with the MMRF, which has been a visionary organization in accelerating cancer research for the sake of patients and their families,” said Eric S. Lander, director of the Broad Institute and professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School. “Through our work together on this critical pilot project in whole-cancer-genome sequencing, we hope not only to advance clinical progress for multiple myeloma, but to build knowledge and technical capabilities that can be applied to many other human cancers.”

“Three years ago, the MMRF launched a partnership with the Broad Institute and the Translational Genomics Research Institute — the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative — a comprehensive genome-mapping program to identity new targets and eventually new therapies for this incurable disease,” said Kathy Giusti, founder and CEO of the MMRF, and a multiple myeloma patient.

“As part of that larger effort, we are confident that this groundbreaking research will accelerate the development of next-generation treatments to extend the lives of multiple myeloma patients. Additionally, we believe that this work will not only ultimately pave the way to a cure for patients with multiple myeloma, but will benefit patients with other types of cancer.”

The creation of comprehensive catalogs of all commonly occurring cancer mutations is a current approach of several national and international consortia – including The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) – to understand major tumor types such as leukemia, lung cancer, glioblastoma, and others. To date, only a handful of whole-cancer genomes have been sequenced and only one has been published.

“The few cancer genomes sequenced to date have been informative, but we need many more to transform cancer research and ultimately cancer therapy,” said Stacey Gabriel, co-director of the Broad Institute’s Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program. “This exciting collaboration with the MMRF will advance these goals by contributing public domain data.”