The UCSF Stephen & Nancy Grand Multiple Myeloma Translational Initiative

Grand MMTI - Speeding Development of Improved Multiple Myeloma Therapies

The Grand MMTI was launched in 2009 through a generous multimillion dollar gift from Stephen and Nancy Grand, longtime supporters of UCSF, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Collaborative Innovation Award obtained by Peter Walter, Jim Wells, Kevan Shokat, Marc Shuman, Frank McCormick and colleagues. Translational research, at its best, is scientific research that facilitates the translation of basic science discoveries into practical applications that improve human health. This is most readily achieved via highly interactive, multi-disciplinary collaborations between clinicians and basic scientists working towards a common goal. The Grand MMTI is built around this vision and is one of UCSF’s most promising translational programs.

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The Need

MMTIMultiple myeloma (MM) is a cancer of plasma cells, typically found in the bone marrow. These malignant plasma cells over-produce antibodies and other substances that cause organ damage by eroding bones and by causing kidney dysfunction, often the initial signs of this disease. Multiple myeloma is the second most common cancer of the blood, accounting for approximately 10% of blood cancers. About 65,000 people have this disease and 20,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States every year. The peak age of the disease onset is 65 to 70 years of age, but recent statistics indicate that the disease prevalence is increasing and people are contracting the disease at a younger age. Although progress has been made in recent years against multiple myeloma, the disease remains challenging to treat, with insufficient therapeutic options. 

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The Vision for the Grand MMTI

Build a world class multiple myeloma center on the west coast by leveraging UCSF resources (ground-breaking research & drug discovery, premier multiple myeloma clinical capabilities and a state-of-the-art cancer center) to develop innovative therapies that meet the current and evolving needs of multiple myeloma patients.

The Goals for the Grand MMTI

  • Create a premier multiple myeloma research program investigating the genetics and biology of disease and identifying novel therapies for disease treatment
  • Create a premier multiple myeloma clinical trials organization that offers patients access to promising experimental drugs through clinical trials
  • Build an organization that accelerates the development process for novel multiple myeloma therapies
  • Establish a comprehensive multiple myeloma tissue bank and database with detailed clinical annotation
  • Establish UCSF/industry collaborations that speed translation of discoveries made at UCSF into organizations capable of completing the clinical development.


Since its inception, the Grand MMTI has, among other accomplishments:

  • Become a nationally recognized myeloma program with strong capabilities for developing new drugs
  • Established one of the most advanced and best integrated translational research groups at UCSF
  • Identified novel targets and therapeutics for the treatment of multiple myeloma, which have garnered the interest of industry partners
  • Increased the myeloma clinical program 8 fold
  • Supported the phase 1 clinical study of a compound developed by members of the Grand MMTI team
  • Built a comprehensive multiple myeloma tissue bank & database with patient samples from all stages of disease
  • Trained numerous clinical fellows to become experts in myeloma