Steps are being taken to improve treatment options for cancer patients, particularly those with myeloma.
“After being diagnosed in 1996 with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, and realizing there were virtually no drugs in the pipeline to treat the disease, I decided to concentrate all my efforts on accelerating treatments for the illness,” explains Kathy Giusti founder/CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC).
“We found early on that the ‘system’ for cancer research makes it hard to find cures,” she recalls. “There are no incentives in academia, at the medical centers and industry to pool and share data, therefore making it harder to make discoveries.” The MMRC has broken down these barriers by building models that speed up new precision therapies.
“We’ve enlisted more than 50 hospitals [including University of Chicago], universities and research centers to do the unthinkable – deliver high-quality clinical and genomic data for our landmark CoMMpassSM Study,” shares Ms. Giusti. “This is helping transform myeloma treatment by targeting treatments most effective for specific patients. We’re also sharing this data with researchers worldwide and our patients through our revolutionary open access Gateways on the Internet.”
The organization has raised $250 million to date and was instrumental in launching 6 FDA-approved drugs for myeloma. “We’ve made incredible progress over the years and helped extend the life span by more than double for many myeloma patients,” shares Ms. Giusti, a true warrior for the cause.
Together, MMRF and MMRC have developed innovative models to break down barriers slowing research and accelerate the development of next-generation treatments. For more information, visit www.themmrf.org and www.themmrc.org.