The International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF) and its affiliates support the advancement of knowledge about the pathophysiological basis for the disease Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM). This goal is accomplished by providing research grants for basic biomedical research into the origins, clinical manifestations, treatments, and potential future cures for WM.
Since the IWMF is a small non-profit foundation with limited resources and is funded almost entirely by individual members’ donations, our research strategy focuses on the financial support of programs and institutions that contribute to basic scientific research. The Foundation does not fund clinical trials.
IWMF-LLS Strategic Research Roadmap
History: Because of recent exciting advances in our understanding of the biological basis of WM, the IWMF decided in 2014 to update its research strategy and enlist the cooperation of many of the major players in the WM research community. To this end, the IWMF partnered with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to sponsor a Strategic Research Roadmap Summit in New York City in May 2015. The conference agenda was divided into four major topics:
Signaling – What pathways do WM cells use for communication?
Immunology/immunotherapy – How can we better use our own immune system to fight WM?
Tumor microenvironment – How does the bone marrow/tumor environment affect WM cells?
“Omics” – What else can we learn about genomics, epigenomics, and mutations in WM cells?
IgM Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) – An understanding of changes in the genome, transcriptome, and epigenome that accompany IgM MGUS progression to WM may identify patients at risk of progression and interventions that may prevent or suppress progression.
To read more about the Summit and its participants click here. Dr. Stephen Ansell of the Mayo Clinic, scientific co-leader of the Roadmap Summit, discusses the four major topic areas on the Summit agenda in a short video entitled “An Exciting Time in Waldenstrom’s!”
As a result of the Summit, the IWMF-LLS Strategic Research Roadmap Initiative was developed to implement a robust research program to support the five focus areas above. Under the Roadmap Initiative, the IWMF will award Roadmap grants for 2-4 new research proposals each year, depending on funding availability. Each project shall be 2 years in length, at a cost of up to $200,000 per year per project.
The Foundation has a rigorous process in place for all research grant applications, which includes a review by an independent committee composed of selected members of Waldenstrom expert researchers via our RFP program. The proposals are ranked according to NIH review criteria and forwarded to the IWMF Board of Trustees. Generally speaking, at this stage a decision to fund a proposal is based on project quality and fund availability. Detailed information on the research grant application process can be found in Applying for a Research Grant.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) in response to the Research Roadmap is issued each year in the fall, with a deadline to receive RFP grant applications set for the following year in February. Notification of grant awards is made in June, with initial anticipated funding start dates from July-October. To learn about past recipients of the award go to our Past Research Recipients page.
Sponsorship of International Workshops on Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia
As part of its commitment to furthering the advance of research specific to WM, the IWMF has been instrumental in the development and support of the biennial global conferences known as the International Workshops on Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia(link is external), which provide biomedical professionals the opportunity to share their research findings and collaborate on methodologies. The Workshops are currently administered by the Bing Center for Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Several important Consensus Panel Guidelines on diagnosis, front-line and relapsed treatment therapies, response assessment, and other important topics have emerged from these Workshops, with the goal of assisting physicians in their clinical care of WM patients.
Robert A. Kyle Career Development Award Program (formerly Young Investigator Awards)
To promote innovative research, the International Workshops on WM sponsor an award program for young medical specialists, researchers, and postdoctoral fellows specializing in the area of WM. Robert A. Kyle Career Development Award Program is intended to develop knowledge and skills in WM, thereby stimulating research applicable to the development of medical innovations that save and sustain patients’ lives. The IWMF and several of its affiliates have contributed to the program by funding up-and-coming research investigators to attend the International Workshops on Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia(link is external).
Applicants for the Robert A. Kyle Career Development Award Program program are expected to submit descriptions of ongoing research through an abstract submission. The Award includes a travel, hotel, and conference stipend as well as an on-site presentation of the award-winning research (oral and poster). To see recipients of the Robert A. Kyle Career Development Award Program go to our Past Research Recipients page.
IWMF Research Seed Money Initiative
Under the terms of the Request for Proposals for the IWMF Research Seed Money Initiative, the IWMF will confer a research grant to an investigator in the amount of $75,000 each year for a one (1) year project.
Other Medical Conferences
The IWMF has exhibited at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology since 2001 and attends scientific presentations and poster sessions offered during the event. The Foundation sponsors an annual meeting of the IWMF Scientific Advisory Committee during ASH.