Precursor Myeloma Dream Team - Stand Up To Cancer

Dream Teams

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

Grant Term: September 2018–August 2022

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.


The project will involve what is believed to be the first large-scale population survey in the United States for precursor conditions of multiple myeloma, specifically monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) or smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM). Blood samples from approximately 50,000 people, recruited largely through social media, will be analyzed to find what is expected to be about 3,000 with 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 Dream Team will follow those with the precursor conditions and will use the samples to discover biomarkers that will help predict those with a high risk of progressing. The Team will also work to develop treatments for high-risk SMM and multiple myeloma.


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

Gad Getz, PhD
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Principal Investigator

Jeremiah Johnson
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Principal Investigator

Joseph M. MIkhael, MD
Mayo Clinic Arizona
Principal Investigator

Lorelei A. Mucci, ScD
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Principal Investigator

Jenny Ahlstrom
CrowdCare Foundation

Marie Cherisol

Rebecca Nutley

Courtney Hamilton
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Project Manager

Don Watson
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Project Manager

“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.



This team started its work in the spring of 2018. Links to publications will be posted when they are available.


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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