The Myeloma 1000 Project
Background and rationale:
The range of treatment options for myeloma has changed dramatically over the last decade. In addition, a large number of second-generation and targeted therapies are under development, expanding the repertoire of agents that are likely to be available in the future. However, the optimal way to utilize these therapies, including combination of agents and treatment algorithms, is yet to be defined. Although there have been improved outcomes following the introduction of newer agents, the median survival for myeloma is only 4-5 years with current therapy. As such, novel therapeutic approaches are required to improve patient outcomes.
Biobanks are considered an important means of maximising the value of clinical data to gain further understanding of various diseases. DNA and RNA fractions are typically isolated from a variety of sources including: whole blood, serum, plasma, the surface of blood cells, urine, saliva and spinal fluid from both healthy individuals and patients. The ability to isolate, quantify, and analyse these molecules has led to the identification of specific biomarkers and/or genetic variants related to a variety of clinical disorders thereby permitting their early diagnosis and prognosis. Cell-free DNA, bearing the same genetic and epigenetic changes as the tumour, can be detected in plasma/serum of cancer-patients indicating that this approach can be utilised for development of cancer biomarkers. In addition to cell-free DNA, cell-free RNA and miRNA can also be detected in plasma/serum and can be potentially utilised as a biomarker to understand disease pathogenesis and progression.