The IMF Leading the Charge
The International Myeloma Foundation is committed to the search for a cure or cures. It is a key point of our mission statement:
The opportunities for both prevention and cure are illustrated in Figure 1.
Cure can be achieved by decisive intervention early for smoldering or active myeloma. To evaluate success, it is essential to use sensitive, reliable, and practical testing for minimal residual disease (MRD).
Learn about the Black Swan Research Initiative® and how the success of this bold new initiative is charting the Road to a Cure.
The Reality of Cure for Myeloma Patients
For a disease for which recurrent relapse with new disease has been the "norm," the prospect for cure is a tantalizing opportunity. It is helpful to consider cure in three ways.
Multiple myeloma is unlike other cancers. It can persist for many years in the bone marrow or in the tissues of a patient who is doing extremely well and in an excellent remission without leading to active growth or relapse.
But effective new multiple myeloma therapies are driving longer remissions, and “cure” is coming into focus in three different ways:
- Functional cure is when a patient is in a prolonged remission, but a small amount of myeloma is known to be left, based upon follow-up testing. Such patients are the focus of active research in the BSRI project to understand and enhance immune control of residual myeloma and to prevent the re-growth of myeloma.
- Normal relative survival is another way to consider cure. In this case, the myeloma patient is in a prolonged remission and has reached a point where their survival is equal to or better than another person of the same sex and age. In this case, the patient succumbs to "normal" diseases of the elderly such as chronic disease, heart disease, and the like. These concurrent conditions are known as comorbidities.
- True cure is the goal and the most difficult to confirm for sure. No matter how sensitive the testing for MRD, there is always the question that a tiny amount of myeloma is hiding somewhere! From historical analysis, we know that with current testing at a sensitivity level of 10-6 (one in one million cells of undetected myeloma) persistent remission at this MRD undetected (negative) level for five years. More typically, this translates into very long survival and "cure" of some sort. Thus, this is the goal of the BSRI Cure Trials. Learn more about the CESAR and ASCENT trials.
The IMF Global Technology Platform
To accelerate progress to achieve a cure, the IMF (through the Black Swan Research Initiative) has created the IMF Global Technology Platform.
Attacking myeloma on all fronts at once is the strategy that is really moving us forward toward a cure.
A behind-the-scenes look at the largest, most ambitious myeloma study in the world as it completes its second year. Supported by the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative, the Iceland-based iStopMM project has screened more than 80,000 adults over 40. The goal? To identify and treat MGUS at its earliest stage, before it has a chance to develop into full-blown disease.
The International Myeloma Foundation medical and editorial content team
Comprised of leading medical researchers, hematologist/oncologists, oncology-certified nurses, medical editors, and medical journalists, our team has extensive knowledge of the multiple myeloma treatment and care landscape. Additionally, Dr. Brian G.M. Durie reviews and approves all medical content on this website.
Last Medical Review: August 1, 2019