$10M gift supports new myeloma research center at Ohio State

Virtual center will enable research sample sharing, collaborative multi-institutional research

By Amanda Harper
Ohio State News contributor

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The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) has received a $10 million gift from the Paula and Rodger Riney Foundation to establish the Riney Family Foundation Myeloma Center for Advanced Research Excellence (Myeloma CARE).

A collaborative effort of the OSUCCC – James Drug Development Institute (DDI) and the Division of Hematology at Ohio State, this new center is focused on accelerating myeloma drug discovery and development projects at the OSUCCC – James. Initial projects will include the creation of a comprehensive, multi-institutional database for categorizing patient samples and correlating de-identified health data for future scientific studies aimed at better understanding and treatment of multiple myeloma.

This new financial support will enable the OSUCCC – James to accelerate drug discovery research to explore potential new treatments using specific molecular targets, including some identified by OSUCCC – James scientists. The gift will be made over the course of two years.

“We are very focused on pushing new therapies from the lab to clinical trials. Our progress may be faster and more impactful by developing methods to share discoveries and collaborate with colleagues at other major centers,” said Don Benson, a professor in the Division of Hematology at Ohio State, Myeloma Program Director, and member of the Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program at the OSUCCC – James.

“By creating a collaborative research database to house patient samples from our institution and from those of our collaborators, we can all make more meaningful discoveries that reach the bedside faster,” said Jeff Patrick, director of the DDI. “People with myeloma don’t have time to wait — the future is bright, but there is still much work to do. We are so grateful to the Paula and Rodger Riney Foundation for believing in and supporting our mission.”

The center will be led by Benson and will include numerous clinicians and investigators from the OSUCCC – James who specialize in treating multiple myeloma and conducting related research.

Researchers will work closely with staff from the DDI to advance promising drug targets from the laboratory to clinical testing. The DDI is a biotech-like institute embedded within the OSUCCC – James that employs a combination of targeted investments, strategic management and cutting-edge resources to drive projects from discovery through early-stage drug development, thus creating high-value new drug candidates.

“We are enormously honored to receive the Riney family’s generous gift to drive new research discoveries through this outstanding collaboration. The Myeloma Center for Advanced Research Excellence unites our expert researchers from the DDI and the Division of Hematology to accelerate innovative treatments for patients with multiple myeloma,” said Harold L. Paz, executive vice president and chancellor for health affairs at The Ohio State University and CEO of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

“As a five-year survivor, my family and I personally understand and are passionate about investing in this scientific research that is absolutely critical for finding less toxic, more effective treatments for people facing this disease. We are honored we have the ability to invest in hope through multiple myeloma research at the OSUCCC – James,” said Rodger Riney.

Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson noted the critical need for continued laboratory research to advance discoveries that improve care at the bedside.

“Academic research is critical to modern-day medical advancements, and all treatment breakthroughs have their roots in the laboratory,” Johnson said. “The Riney family’s extraordinary commitment to Ohio State’s cancer drug discovery and development is an investment in hope for better outcomes and richer futures for patients and their families. Their generosity will improve countless lives for years to come.”