As announced this week, the IMF is funding the iStopMM (Iceland Screens, Treats, or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) study, an exciting new addition to the portfolio of more than 35 Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI®) projects. Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson (University of Iceland) is the lead investigator.
By screening the entire Iceland population of approximately 140,000 adults over 40 for the presence of MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance), there is the real possibility of truly preventing the development of myeloma or curing it by early intervention, which is the key strategy of the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative.
The iStopMM project capitalizes on the knowledge that myeloma is always preceded by MGUS. Thus, if MGUS and smoldering myeloma are identified and monitored, early use of the Black Swan “Cure Trial” protocols (as in the CESAR clinical trials in Spain) can be implemented. Dr. Sigurdur recognized the opportunity when he attended the last meeting of the IMF’s Black Swan research investigators team in December 2015 and heard details of the ongoing BRSI projects, including the clinical trials.
Planning and implementing the iStopMM project, in collaboration with the IMF and Binding Site (which will conduct the testing for the screening), is challenging and courageous! In every little village and town of Iceland, blood will be drawn and sent for central testing. An awareness campaign will encourage all Icelandic citizens to participate. All data will be collected and analyzed from subsequent monitoring.
But the meticulous coordination and efforts required will be extremely worthwhile, as the results may provide us with the opportunity to eradicate the development of myeloma for an entire country!
Expectations are clearly high. The study’s team will convene at the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Summit in early June in Copenhagen. The project will move into full swing by the fall. The IMF Black Swan team will be visiting Iceland for the project’s official launch, which will include a media campaign to raise awareness and encourage the full participation necessary.
So please wish us well with this unique new endeavor, which will change the landscape for myeloma management globally.
As always, we will keep you posted each step of the way!
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