Precursor Myeloma Dream Team - Stand Up To Cancer

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SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team:
Screening and Interception of Precursor Myeloma

Grant Term: September 2018 – February 2022

The SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team is focusing on precursor myeloma conditions in patients at a high risk for the disease. The Team hypothesizes that early detection of precursor myeloma conditions in a high-risk population, along with a good understanding of the molecular and immune factors that lead to disease progression, will lead to effective strategies that intercept disease progression and improve survival.


This project involves what is believed to be the first large-scale population survey in the United States for precursor conditions of multiple myeloma―specifically, conditions called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM).

Blood samples from approximately 50,000 people, recruited largely through social media, are being analyzed to identify those who have the precursor conditions, which cause no symptoms and are usually detected only when a physician orders a blood test for another reason.

Because it is unclear how to tell whether someone with MGUS or SMM will progress to full-blown multiple myeloma, the SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team is following those with the precursor conditions and using the samples to discover biomarkers that will help predict those with a high risk of progressing. The team is also working to develop treatments for high-risk SMM and multiple myeloma.

This Dream Team is part of the SU2C Cancer Interception initiative, an approach that studies how to actively intervene in the formation of cancers rather than treating them only after they are fully developed.


The top scientists and researchers on the SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, which leads them to great insights upon collaboration. Learn more about the SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team.

Dream Team Members

Irene M. Ghobrial, MD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Ivan M. Borrello, MD
Johns Hopkins University

Catherine Marinac
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Young Investigator

Elizabeth Kitzenberg
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Project Manager

Betsey Frost-Hawes
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Project Manager

Prashant Kapoor, MD
Mayo Clinic Rochester
Principal Investigator

Gad Getz, PhD
The Broad Institute, Inc.
Principal Investigator

Jeremiah Johnson
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Principal Investigator

Timothy Rebbeck, PhD
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Principal Investigator

Jenny Ahlstrom
Myeloma Crowd Foundation

Shelia Patterson
Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship & 50 Hoops

Kellie and Yaphet Smith

Rebecca Nutley

“We tell people with precursor conditions that we will ‘watch and wait’ until it turns into multiple myeloma, with multiple tumors that can potentially cause organ damage. That’s like telling people with breast cancer or colon cancer that we are not going to do anything until the cancer metastasizes throughout the body. We want to change that.”

Irene M. Ghobrial, MD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click on the link to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team.



Dissecting racial disparities in multiple myeloma.
Marinac CR, Ghobrial IM, Birmann BM, et al.
Blood Cancer J. 2020 Feb 17;10(2):19
Single-cell RNA sequencing reveals compromised immune microenvironment in precursor stages of multiple myeloma.
Zavidij O, Haradhvala NJ, Mouhieddine TH, Set al.
Nat Cancer. 2020 May;1(5):493-506.
Genomic Profiling of Smoldering Multiple Myeloma Identifies Patients at a High Risk of Disease Progression.
Bustoros M, Sklavenitis-Pistofidis R, Park J, Et al.
J Clin Oncol. 2020 Jul 20;38(21):2380-2389.


Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

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