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.