iStop MM® gets off to a fast start

The IMF team just returned from the exciting iStopMM kickoff meeting held September 26-27th at the deCode Genetics facility at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. A major project funded by the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative, iStopMM (Iceland Screens Treats or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) will examine blood samples from approximately 140,000 adults over age 40 in Iceland for the earliest signs of myeloma. The goal of this innovative and ambitious effort, as I have written about in previous blogs here and here, is to stop myeloma before it develops into full-blown disease.

Precision Oncology and the Cancer Moonshot: Where Do We Stand?

There have been recent commentaries on the prospects and potential for both what is called "precision oncology" and Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot program. Although I have discussed both in the past, the current news, writes Dr. Vinay Prasad in the journal Nature, is quite “sobering.” The news is sobering because the hype and expectations are way beyond the truth. When costs are high—and in the case of precision oncology, they are extremely high—research efforts must focus on areas of likely success, not on high expense with little likelihood of return. Since myeloma is one of many cancers (and not the most common), we are particularly sensitive about the need to fully justify the spending of every research dollar.

Preview of the Black Swan Research Initiative’s First US Cure Trial

This week, Dr. Shaji Kumar shares the details of the upcoming US ASCENT “Cure Trial” in a video interview on IMF-TV. ASCENT stands for Aggressive Smoldering Cure Evaluating Novel Rx Transplant. This long-anticipated clinical trial, expected to launch in late Fall 2016, is based on key tenets of the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI)®:

iStopMM (Iceland Screens Treats or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) really will stop myeloma for a whole country—Iceland!

As announced this week, the IMF is funding the iStopMM (Iceland Screens Treats or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) study, an exciting new addition to the portfolio of more than 35 Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI®) projects. Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson (University of Iceland) is the lead investigator.

To collaborate, or not to collaborate, that is the question

The successes achieved by the IMF’s International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) are due, in large part, to collaboration. Bringing myeloma researchers together to produce consensus guidelines and to brainstorm about new research ideas, such as the Black Swan Research Initiative® – the IMF’s “Myeloma Moonshot” – has produced significant breakthroughs, advanced understanding and improved patient outcomes.

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