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.
Project Aims
The Myeloma 1000 Project aims to establish a repository of blood specimens that will be available for future assessment of circulating biomarkers (proteins and/or genes isolated from plasma/serum) that better predict individuals at risk of developing myeloma or a related disease, accelerated disease progression and treatment response. The project will leverage off the MRDR by linking biological information with prospectively collected clinical data. This includes detailed information on patient demographics, diagnosis, treatment and clinical outcomes.
Through linking prospective, long-term clinical data with biological information on a large cohort of newly diagnosed myeloma patients, the Myeloma 1000 Project will enable correlative studies that will be highly valuable in predicting onset of disease and informing optimal treatment strategies for myeloma and its related diseases.
The main objective of the Myeloma 1000 Project is to establish a repository of blood samples that will be available for the future assessment of circulating cell-free biomarkers (proteins and or/genes) that better predict individuals at risk of developing multiple myeloma or a related disease, accelerated disease progression and treatment response. The biobank aims to be a community resource that can assist in supporting research that improves the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of people with these illnesses.
What is collected?
The blood collection involves taking 80-100mls of blood from the antecubital vein. Blood is collected into specific tubes for processing and isolation of plasma, serum, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and circulating cell-free nucleic acids.
This allows the shipment of samples from each of the participating sites to the Coordinating Centre without further processing. Blood collection is undertaken by an appointed Research Nurse or a fully qualified phlebotomist. Standard Operating Procedures for the Collection of Blood Samples of the local institution, where the blood collection is performed, will be followed.
The Myeloma 1000 Project is supported by grants from Amgen Australia, Bristol Myers Squibb and Janssen.