The DFN Charitable Foundation is donating £1 million to charity Myeloma UK to help support the development of advanced genomic and genetic research tools to better characterise, monitor and treat the disease.

The funds are intended to help researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) carry out genome sequencing of patient samples collected from the pivotal Myeloma XI clinical trial, which looked at the benefits of different combinations and sequences of treatments in newly diagnosed patients.

Every year, between 5,000 and 6,000 people in the UK are diagnosed every ear with myeloma, an incurable cancer of plasma cells found in the bone marrow. The disease has a five-year survival rate of just 40 percent, highlighting the need for new treatment options.

Researchers are hoping that new analysis of patient bone marrow samples using the latest technology will help to optimise current and future treatments by improving understanding on which patients benefit from which treatments.

“We're working with sensitive, state of the art genomic analysis tools to better understand the characteristics of myeloma that contribute to treatment resistance and relapse, so we can find better ways to kill the myeloma cells that survive initial treatment,” said Dr Martin Kaiser, who leads the myeloma research team at The ICR.

“We hope our research will lead to a better quality of life and improved survival for people with myeloma and this new grant is an important investment in achieving our goals.”

“This very generous donation from the DFN Foundation will go a long way to helping us not only achieve our goal of doing Whole Genome Sequencing on up to 2,000 samples but also, through the funding of a research Fellow, get a head start on the analysis of the data that comes back,” said Simon Ridley, director of research at Myeloma UK, commenting on the donation.

News of the donation closely follows the appointment of former Myeloma UK chief executive Eric Low as Trustee of DFN, with the responsibility of managing and maximising the funds.