Patient Information to Be Made Available to Researchers

In a huge step forward for pharmaceutical research, The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s (MMRF) Researcher Gateway will begin providing patient information online to researchers around the world.

According to an article posted on Reuters.com, the organization’s $40 billion program will begin digitizing information such as patient gene mutations associated with the disease, as well as how patients respond to treatment.

The article goes on to say that this widespread sharing of information could help researchers identify the right patients for the right studies and clinical trials, and significantly facilitate collaboration amongst scientists.

Kathy Giusti, a pharmaceutical industry veteran and a co-founder of MMRF, told Reuters, “This data is going to be precious for academic (research) centers, community centers and our pharma partners,”

The article lists Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Johnson & Johnson, Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc as co-sponsors of the program.

The crux of the program, the author writes, involves a study named “Commpass,” which researchers hope will monitor 1,000 recently diagnosed multiple myeloma patients.  The Commpass study will monitor patients over a number of years, and share information across a variety of platforms and with a number of top medical institutions, including  Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, University of California, San Francisco, Emory University in Atlanta, and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Reuters reports that 50 medical centers in both the United States and Europe will enroll patients in the study, all of whom will voluntarily agree to share their information.

George Mulligan, the director of translational medicine for Millennium Pharmaceuticals, told reporters, “There is going to be new information generated there that you would never get unless you followed patients through first relapse and second relapse and beyond… The size of it in patient numbers and the breadth and richness of it on a biological level, it’s going to grow over time and mushroom into something that’s going to be really special,”

The article went on to say that the Gateway Researcher program model could serve as a template for other types of cancer research, and potentially revolutionize the way researchers approach cancer diagnosis and treatment.