December 5, 2016

UAMS Part of International Myeloma Genome Project

Dec. 5, 2016 | The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is collaborating with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Celgene Corp. to compile the largest set of high-quality genetic data related to myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells in the blood.

Brian Walker, Ph.D., a professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine reported preliminary findings from the project Dec. 3 at the 58th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in San Diego.

The goal of the Myeloma Genome Project is to create a strategy for classifying myeloma into subgroups based on analysis of myeloma at the molecular level coupled with patient outcomes. This will be used to develop new tests to improve diagnosis and develop personalized treatments for improved patient outcomes.

“Genetic mutations that lead to myeloma have been poorly described in the past because of small sample numbers,” said Walker, director of research at the UAMS Myeloma Institute. “For the first time, we have been able to analyze data from a large set of patients and use that data to develop a classification system at the molecular level.”

In addition to patient data from UAMS, data came from the Myeloma XI clinical trial in the United Kingdom, Intergroupe Francophone du Myeloma/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Celgene is providing computing storage and virtual computer capability. Headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, Celgene is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases.

The Myeloma Genome Project is a natural fit for the UAMS Myeloma Institute, one of the largest clinical and research programs in the world related to myeloma, said institute director Gareth Morgan, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and pathology with the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine.

The UAMS Myeloma Institute has treated patients from every state in the United States and more than 50 countries. Committed to accelerating curative therapies for myeloma and related diseases, the UAMS Myeloma Institute utilizes advanced genomics and other novel diagnostics to develop personalized medicine approaches.

“The Myeloma Genome Project is a really exciting initiative that may change the way we manage myeloma patients,” said Morgan.

Walker’s report was one of 21 oral and poster presentations from the UAMS Myeloma Institute at the ASH meeting, covering a range of topics related to myeloma biology and therapy. Abstracts selected for presentation feature the latest research in the field and are considered the best of the thousands submitted for the annual meeting.

“The UAMS Myeloma Institute consistently has an outstanding presence at ASH thanks to our team of talented scientists that conducts novel research and swiftly translates research discoveries to clinical applications,” said Morgan. “It is an honor to share our findings with our national and international colleagues.”

The ASH annual meeting attracts more than 20,000 hematology professionals from more than 100 countries. ASH is the largest professional society serving clinicians and scientists around the world who are working to conquer blood diseases, including myeloma.