Dana-Farber has been a leader in the research of precursor hematologic conditions for many years. Our team is committed to early detection and intervention to prevent progression to incurable blood cancers.
Our team was the first to discover CHIP and its link to blood cancers and cardiovascular disease, and has been leading several efforts to understand the genomic, genetic, and epigenetic factors that influence disease progression for other precursor conditions. We offer several clinical trials of early therapeutic intervention to prevent progression and cure the disease in its early state.
Benjamin Ebert, MD, PhD, Chair of Medical Oncology, made the landmark discovery identifying clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP), a pre-malignant state occurring in more than 10 percent of people over age 70. People with the condition have somatic mutations associated with leukemia in cells of the blood or bone marrow, but do not meet the criteria for a hematologic cancer diagnosis. Such individuals are at significantly elevated risk (10-fold increase) of hematologic malignancy, therapy-related leukemia, overall mortality, and cardiovascular disease.
Age-related clonal hematopoiesis linked to adverse outcomes, New England Journal of Medicine, 2014 November 26
Clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential and its distinction from myelodysplastic syndromes, Blood, 2015
Irene Ghobrial, MD, launched the PCROWD research study to collect tissue samples for patients diagnosed with precursor conditions for the purpose of understanding the progression and clonal evolution of blood cancers, with the ultimate aim of developing targeted therapeutic agents that can eliminate the early clones of disease. The study has helped identify mutations associated with disease progression.
Learn more about the PCROWD study.
Ghobrial is leading this screening study of individuals at high-risk of precursor conditions of multiple myeloma, such as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma. The goal is to establish a screening method for high-risk individuals and to study clinical data and tissue samples to understand why some patients progress to myeloma and others do not.
Learn more about the PROMISE study.
Smoldering Multiple Myeloma
Nikhil Munshi, MD, and his colleagues have identified the genomic changes that occur as smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) advances to myeloma. Their findings lay the groundwork for tests that can identify patients whose SMM is likely to progress rapidly to myeloma, and who could benefit from prompt treatment.