The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is excited to announce that it is funding the first large-scale screening study aimed at preventing myeloma before it develops. Spearheaded by the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative®, iStopMM (Iceland Screens Treats or Prevents Multiple Myeloma), is a study that examines blood samples from approximately 120,000 adults over age 40 in Iceland for the earliest signs of myeloma. Because nearly all citizens of Iceland over age 40 undergo routine blood tests, the country is an ideal setting for such research. After obtaining informed consent over the next few months of 2016, project leader Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson of the University of Iceland and his team will screen blood samples from approximately 120,000 individuals for the precursors to myeloma – MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance) and smoldering myeloma. Those individuals diagnosed with the precursors will then be invited to participate in a randomized clinical trial to identify the best strategy for treatment and to create a new risk model for disease progression.
iStopMM News and Updates:
As the IMF’s President and Co-Founder Susie Novis Durie states in this compelling video, “iStopMM and the Black Swan Research Initiative are just hand in glove; iStopMM is part of the Black Swan Research Initiative’s goal to find a cure for myeloma.” What does iStopMM stand for? I is for Iceland, the country. S is for Screens. T is for Treats. O is for or. And P is for prevents multiple myeloma. The principal investigator for this project Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson, Professor of Blood Diseases at the University of Iceland, explains how adults over the age of 40 in the country of Iceland will be screened for monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), the precursor to myeloma. Once those participants in the study are identified as either having MGUS or smoldering multiple myeloma, they will be invited to join a randomized clinical trial to prevent the potential onset of mm, or treat the presence of the disease. As the IMF’s Chairman of the Board Dr. Brian Durie shares, testing at this early stage will allow oncologists to identify which patients may have progressive disease patterns and enable the medical community to “intervene early” to treat and potentially prevent the onset of active multiple myeloma.
CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and his team traveled to Iceland last week to explore the country’s innovative medical projects. During their visit I was honored to have been interviewed by Dr. Gupta, along with Dr. Kári Stefánsson, Founder and CEO of deCODE Genetics, and Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson of the University of Iceland, Principal Investigator of the IMF Black Swan Research Initiative’s iStopMM project.
The iStopMM team launched the ambitious screening, treatment, and prevention program for MGUS, SMM, and MM in Iceland. On Monday, a national TV program explained the project to the whole population of Iceland! Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson, the Principal Investigator, introduced the project, while I appear on camera summarizing (in English, of course) the importance of the study for the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI®), which is funding the study. As I explain, early diagnosis provides the best opportunity for curative therapy.
The iStopMM research project is about to start in Iceland. It is supported through the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative®, and literally will include Screening, Treating Or Preventing myeloma. Beginning in October 2016, approximately 140,000 people over age 40 in Iceland will be screened with SPEP (serum protein electrophoresis), UPEP (urine protein electrophoresis), and Freelite tests to see if they have MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance), smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), or full-blown multiple myeloma (MM). If they have MGUS or SMM, they will be initially monitored. If they have myeloma, they will be treated.
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.