Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative Targeting High-Risk Myeloma






University of Würzburg


CAR T-Cells are a hot new area of research in blood cancers. This study takes a patient's own white blood cells from a blood sample and engineers them to target specific receptors - CS1 and BMCA - common proteins found on the surface of myeloma cells. The T Cells are then given back to the patient after a two-week period. CAR T therapy is all at once a cell therapy, gene therapy and immunotherapy. This study will be applicable for high-risk patients who have failed standard myeloma therapies but will also be appropriate for normal risk patients regardless of genetic features.

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Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmell Comprehensive Cancer Center


Dr. Ivan Borrello is working to create a patient-specific immunotherapy using enhanced T cells from the patient’s own bone marrow, for truly personalized medicine. Using white blood cells from a bone marrow sample, he is able to expand the cells a hundred-fold in the presence of the tumor cells. After these T-Cells are expanded, they are given back to the patient on day 3 or 4 of autologous transplant. When they are reintroduced, they leverage the body's natural process to further expand more immune fighter cells and they target hundreds of proteins that could be causing tumor growth for that patient, not just a single protein. This is an open clinical study today for patients with high-risk genetic features.

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The Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative (MCRI) is a new approach to funding cancer research; combining the skill and knowledge of leading myeloma specialists with the patient perspective and supportive patient social communities to select and fund promising research projects in myeloma. The goal of the MCRI is to find and fund a cure for multiple myeloma.

Current treatments can extend life for many myeloma patients, however, outcomes for patients with very aggressive genetic features or aggressive relapsed/refractory myeloma are dire. By addressing the most aggressive forms of myeloma, we aim to provide completely new options for the entire patient community. The MCRI will review and select specific projects to fund via a new mechanism called crowdfunding. We will create specific campaigns for selected projects, giving transparency to the patient community about where the funds raised will be applied while engaging their review and support. The Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative is intent on funding translational research in the following areas:

  • Potentially curative solutions for high-risk myeloma genetic features including del 17p13, 4;14, 14;16, and 14;20
  • Potentially curative solutions for aggressive features in relapsed/refractory myeloma patients

MCRI Stages and Timeline


COMPLETED: The MCRI received 36 high-quality Letters of Intent from both US and international investigators from major institutions around the world. The proposals spanned research from basic to translational and included clinical studies, all specifically for high-risk patients. Learn more on PR Newswire.



COMPLETED: The MCRI Scientific Advisory board reviewed and scored all submitted proposals. All investigators were notified and a top 10 were selected. Learn More on PR Newswire.


COMPLETED: The ten selected proposals were invited to submit a full proposal describing the proposed research in detail. Each of the proposals participated on the upcoming Myeloma Crowd Radio series during April and May 2015. Patients were able to listen to the shows and ask questions to learn more about the research.


COMPLETED: The Scientific Advisory Board and Patient Advisory Boards have jointly voted on a select number of projects to fund. The MCRI have now chosen two proposals to fund and we invited the patient community to support the initiative. To donate or create your own fundraising page, click here.

Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative Scientific Advisory Board


 Dr. C. Ola Landgren, MD, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Chief, Myeloma Service


 Dr. Irene Ghobrial, MD, PhD

Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Director, Michele & Stephen Kirsch Laboratory


 Dr. Guido Tricot, MD, PhD

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, U of Iowa
Director, Bone Marrow Transplant and Myeloma Program


  Dr. Noopur Raje, MD, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Director, Multiple Myeloma Program, Raje Laboratory


 Dr. Rafael Fonseca, MD

Mayo Clinic Scottsdale
Director, Fonseca Laboratory and Getz Family Professor of Cancer


 Dr. Robert Z. Orlowski, MD, PhD

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Director of Myeloma

Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative Patient Advisory Board


 Jenny Ahlstrom

Myeloma Survivor
Founder, CrowdCare Foundation, Myeloma Crowd, Myeloma Crowd Radio


 Pat Killingsworth

Myeloma Survivor
Daily myeloma blogger and patient advocate:


 Gary Petersen

Myeloma Survivor
Patient advocate and myeloma survival statics:


Jack Aiello

Myeloma Survivor
Experienced patient advocate


Cynthia Chmielewski

Myeloma Survivor
Experienced patient advocate @MyelomaTeacher

Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative Communications Advisory Board


 Dr. Mike Thompson, MD, PhD

Aurora Health Care
Medical Director, Early Phase Cancer Research Program



 Lizzy Smith

Myeloma Survivor
Communications Director and Editor, Myeloma Crowd

Letters of Intent accepted between Feb 1 - Feb 28, 2015. Download the application form below. Email the completed response to

Download MCRI Letter of Intent Form

  • Letters of Intent will be accepted between February 1, 2015 and February 28, 2015. Download the application form from the Myeloma Crowd page www.myelomacrowd/MCRI. The form can be completed in Word and saved as a Word file or PDF file. Email the completed form to by 6 pm February 28, 2015.
  • Individual initial awards are limited to a maximum of $250,000, which includes direct costs and a maximum overhead of 10% of direct costs. Project ideas submitted that are collaborative between investigators/facilities are awarded based on the project specifications and could exceed the stated maximum.
  • Projects that reach targeted milestones and approved by the Scientific Advisory and Patient Advisory Boards will be renewed for up to $300,000 per year for two additional years defined by additional milestones and a fully justified research plan.
  • Letters of Intent are due 6 p.m. ET, February 28, 2015. Researchers will be contacted by March 15 and selected investigators will be required to complete a full proposal by April 15, which will include a short 2-3 minute video describing the project. The video does not need to be of professional quality but is for descriptive purposes only. The MCRI reserves the right to alter the dates as necessary.
  • Please contact for additional questions regarding the process.