New Studies Examine the Use of Liquid Biopsies and the Possible Causes of Myeloma

Two newly published studies that received funding from the IMF Black Swan Research Initiative® show how myeloma might be diagnosed and monitored in the future, and, perhaps, the genetic factors that might cause the disease. In his blog this week, IMF Chairman Dr. Brian Durie translates the studies’ implications and offers important caveats for patients to keep in mind. 

 

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.

Is MRD testing ready for “prime time”?

The answer is a definite yes and no! Yes, it is now a priority to test for minimal residual disease (MRD) in myeloma clinical trials. However, no, MRD testing is not yet recommended in routine clinical practice.  But I’m pleased to report that we are getting there.

The Black Swan Research Initiative® Is the “Myeloma Moonshot”

Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer “moonshot” has been very much in the news since it was made widely public in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech earlier this month. Most commentary has been positive – who does not want more money to go for cancer research? Apparently, the National Cancer Institute’s budget will be increased by $260.5 million to a total of $5.21 billion in the recently approved fiscal 2016 budget.

MRD testing in myeloma takes center stage

Last week’s 4th Annual ESLHO (European Scientific foundation of Laboratory Hemato Oncology) Symposium in Zurich, Switzerland was the first ever dedicated exclusively to examining “New Developments in MRD Diagnostics.” The two-day event provided a comprehensive review of the current status of MRD (minimal residual disease) testing and future optio

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