The Myeloma 1000 Project: a blood biobank of the MRDR

In patients with cancer, cell-free DNA, with the same genetic and epigenetic changes as the tumour, can be detected in plasma/serum making it useful in developing cancer biomarkers. Cell-free RNA and miRNA can also be detected in plasma/serum and could be used as biomarkers to understand disease pathogenesis and progression.

Project Aims

The Myeloma 1000 Project aims to establish a repository of blood specimens available for future assessment of circulating biomarkers that better predict treatment response, and individuals at risk of developing myeloma and accelerated disease progression. The project will use the MRDR to link biological information with prospectively collected clinical data including information on patient demographics, diagnosis, treatment and clinical outcomes. The biobank aims to be a community resource to support research that improves the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of people with myeloma and related diseases.


A one-off blood sample (80-100mls) is collected into special tubes for 1000 patients with MGUS and 1000 with multiple myeloma who are newly diagnosed, ≥ 18 years, participants in the MRDR (may be recruited to both projects simultaneously) and have not received any treatment. Blood is sent in to the Coordinating Centre via Express Post for processing and isolation of plasma, serum, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and circulating cell-free nucleic acids. Informed consent is required, there is no processing of blood at sites, collection and postage materials are provided, and specimens must arrive within 72 hours of collection. Blood is collected by an appointed Research Nurse or a fully qualified phlebotomist.

Recruitment is increasing and requests for biobank samples have commenced. First samples were sent to Kate Vandyke and Andrew Zannettino at University of Adelaide for a project investigating whether serum CTX-1 levels predict progression from pre-malignancy to active disease in multiple myeloma. Samples and data sent for the second project will be used to compare methylation plasma cell-free DNA biomarkers to pre-existing mutation-based biomarkers in MM.


The Myeloma 1000 Project is supported by grants from Amgen Australia, Bristol Myers Squibb and Janssen.