MPNRF Pursues Bold New Initiative: The Progression Marker Project
November 13, 2017: MPNRF is launching a much needed initiative that could unlock answers about the rare blood cancer myeloproliferative neoplasms and identify new therapeutic targets.
There are 300,000 people living with an MPN in the United States. Despite that, very little is known about the diseases, including what the genetic markers are for predicting who will progress to the more acute and deadly Myelofibrosis, a precursor to Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
In 2018 the MPN Research Foundation is doing something about this, with the launch of a Progression Marker Project that will collect patient biological samples and data centrally, and make this research asset available to researchers working to find a way to stop and reverse this set of blood cancers. This highly collaborative project will be funded by the patient advocacy group itself, with contributions from patients and their friends and family.
This project is supported by the MPNRF Board and a team of scientific advisors. Pictured above are MPNRF board member JoAnn Mason with Progression Marker Project scientific advisors Raajit Rampal (Memorial Sloan-Kettering) and John Crispino (Northwestern) at the annual MPN Research Foundation Roundtable Meeting on November 8, 2017.
The MPNs represent a group of diseases in the blood cancer space that affect normal blood cell production in the bone marrow. The bone marrow causes an overproduction of one or more blood cell types (red cells, white cells or platelets). Results from this highly collaborative research effort, with the best and brightest in the MPN research space and industry partners, are expected to significantly advance our understanding of risk factors and molecular changes that lead to disease progression; shift the paradigm of treatment potentially delaying progression, and identify new drug targets for therapeutic intervention.
Says Srdan Verstovsek, part of the working group for this effort, “We need rigorous data to move physicians away from 'watch and wait' to treatment strategies based on an understanding 'why, how and when' people with MPNs should be treated. The Progression Marker Project is designed to provide us with this essential yet missing data.”