MMRC Tissue Bank

A lack of high-quality patient tissue samples is a critical barrier to advancing research and developing effective cancer treatments, particularly in a rare and heterogeneous disease like multiple myeloma. In response to this challenge, the MMRC in 2004 established the first and largest, multi-center, GLP-quality, myeloma-specific biobank that integrates patient tissue samples with corresponding laboratory and clinical data.

Having this resource available provides researchers with an unprecedented critical mass of more than 3,500 bone marrow aspirates and matched peripheral blood samples from over 3000 unique patients. This has allowed them to conduct, for the first time, cutting-edge genomic studies resulting in a leading scientific publication as well as correlative science studies associated with MMRC clinical trials.

Tissue Bank Accrual

Accrual into the MMRC Tissue Bank is ongoing at MMRC Member Institutions across North America. All tissue is uniformly collected, processed, and stored to ensure it remains at the highest quality.

Efforts to develop new targeted therapies require a critical mass of well-annotated biologic samples. However, because myeloma is an uncommon and heterogeneous cancer, quality tissue samples necessary to identify genetic targets for myeloma and drugs active against these targets are both limited in number and scattered throughout the country. Scarcity of high-quality tissue posed one of the greatest obstacles in advancing research in myeloma.

In response to this need, the MMRC created a central repository of peripheral blood and bone marrow samples under the guidance of Rafael Fonseca, MD, Mayo Clinic, a leading expert in multiple myeloma genetics whose laboratory has extensive experience in tissue banking and processing. The MMRC Tissue Bank integrates patient tissue samples with corresponding clinical data; this will enable researchers to identify and validate optimal molecular targets for myeloma and drugs active against these targets, as well as conduct correlative studies.

This project aims to accrue samples in the MMRC Tissue Bank for use in MMRC research efforts, including correlative studies of clinical trial specimens. MMRC Member Institutions collect additional blood and bone marrow samples of patients with multiple myeloma at the time of their routine blood and bone marrow draws for target and biomarker identification.

All samples are uniformly collected following informed consent and are shipped to the MMRC Tissue Bank at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. The samples are subsequently processed, and stored following Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and in a manner consistent with all regulatory requirements, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Each sample is given an anonymous subject identification number that will serve as an identifier as the sample is being used in the research laboratory. Each sample will then be linked to the patient’s corresponding medical record, which is also de-identified

Molecular analysis of samples with corresponding clinical information will enable researchers to determine why, for example, a particular drug is or is not effective in a patient or subgroup of patients. These types of analyses are forming the foundation for new personalized medical approaches for the treatment of myeloma patients.

To learn more about accessing tissue from the MMRC Tissue Bank, contact Joan Levy, PhD.