Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Precision Medicine Initiative Pioneers “Open Source” Clinical Research Model

MMRF’s Clinical Research Collaborative May Unite World in Cancer Cure Quest

By Marc Dresner, IIR

A massive collaborative to develop personalized treatment solutions for cancer patients propelled by a landmark clinical research initiative may radically change medicine.

But don’t just take my word for it.

The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT’s Dr. Eric Lander—best known for his work on the Human Genome Project—calls this the new model for medicine.

Spearheaded by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), the Personalized Medicine Initiative hinges on what I’ll call a first of its kind “open source” fusion of clinical research and genomics data.

The MMRF through CoMMpassTM is collecting and sharing genomic and clinical data from patients with researchers worldwide.

Beverly Harrison
“For the first time, we are collecting and sharing high-quality genomic and clinical data from trial patients,” said MMRF VP of Clinical Development Beverly Harrison.

“By making this invaluable information available to researchers worldwide, we are accelerating hypotheses in clinical trials that can extend lives and lead to a cure,” Harrison added.

The longitudinal study at the heart of the project—dubbed CoMMpassSM (Relating Clinical Outcomes in MM to Personal Assessment of Genetic Profile)—is tracking more than 1000 multiple myeloma patients from diagnosis through treatment, accompanied by sequential tissue sampling to identify how a patient’s molecular profile may affect clinical progression and individual treatment response.

This unprecedented collaborative spans international investigators, major pharmacos, central labs, CROs, genomic testing institutions, government agencies, data-sharing partnerships and more.

What’s truly remarkable about the undertaking is the depth of cooperation and breadth of parties involved: major pharacos, international investigators, central labs, CROs, genomic testing institutions, government agencies and more.

“We needed to connect all the pieces—not just isolated institutions here and there—the research community, the patient community, pharmaceutical companies, physicians, government; all of them need to be connected and sharing data,” Harrison told Inside Clinical.

All of this information resides and may be accessed in a central repository—the MMRF Researcher Gateway—the first public portal to fuse clinical and genomic data.

In this interview for Inside Clinical, the official podcast series for the 23rd Annual Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference, Harrison reviews this monumental achievement, including:

-        • The program
-        • The partners and participants
•       • The portal and infrastructure 

Editor’s note: Beverly Harrison and her colleagues at MMRF will present “Partnering with Patient Communities: The CoMMpass Collaboration Model” at the 23rd Annual Partnershipsin Clinical Trials conference March 30-April 2 in Las Vegas.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1900BLOG, you can save $100 off the current rate!
For more information or to register, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA's senior editor and special communication projects lead. He is the former executive editor of Pharma Market Research Report, a confidential newsletter for marketing researchers in the pharmaceutical industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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