LOS ANGELES, Nov. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – is pleased to announce that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has revised its clinical practice guidelines to include testing for minimal residual disease (MRD) as outlined by the IMF's research division, the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), in The Lancet Oncology in July 2016.
The NCCN is a nonprofit alliance of cancer centers that develops practice guidelines to help physicians in making informed treatment decisions. Its recommendations can facilitate reimbursement for testing or treatment.
"The NCCN's action represents a further step toward broad use of MRD testing," said IMF Chairman Dr. Brian Durie. The critical importance of first identifying and then eliminating the most minuscule traces of minimal residual disease is the key principle of the IMF's Black Swan Research Initiative®, a global, collaborative effort launched in 2012 to cure myeloma.
"We've long believed early intervention with highly effective treatments is the pathway to curing myeloma —and we are currently testing this in clinical trials," said Dr. Durie.
Through the Black Swan Research Initiative, the IMF has helped develop Next-Generation Flow (NGF) cytometry, one of the two tests recommended by the NCCN to assess the presence of MRD in multiple myeloma patients. NGF can measure disease levels as low as one myeloma cell in one million cells, enabling doctors to assess and treat myeloma patients earlier and with greater accuracy.
The new myeloma response criteria, on which the NCCN based its most recent revision, were developed and agreed upon by the more than 200 members of the IMWG. The new response criteria spell out exact definitions of "MRD negative" by NGF or Next Generation Sequencing, a molecular-based MRD test that is also included in the new recommendations.
"We are pleased that the 2016 IMWG response criteria were adopted in full in the new NCCN recommendations," said Dr. Shaji Kumar of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, lead author of the 2016 IMWG response criteria paper.
"We are thrilled that the cancer community—as represented by the NCCN—is recognizing the visionary work of our IMWG members. We are passionate about our mission to treat and ultimately cure this terrible disease," said IMF President Susie Novis Durie.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION Founded in 1990, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is the oldest and largest nonprofit foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. The Foundation's reach extends to more than 450,000 members in 140 countries worldwide. The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure by focusing on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. The IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned InfoLine, and in 2001, established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. In 2012, the IMF launched the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a groundbreaking research project aimed at curing myeloma. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org. Follow the IMF on Twitter @IMFmyeloma.