Dana-Farber, Quest Diagnostics partner to assess how COVID-19 affects those with rare blood cancer risk

Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Secaucus, N.J.-based Quest Diagnostics plan to study how people with or at high risk of developing multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that attacks healthy plasma cells, are affected by COVID-19. 

Multiple myeloma and its precursor conditions, including monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance and smoldering multiple myeloma, may damage the immune system, making this patient population more vulnerable to complications after being exposed to COVID-19 or during the recovery period, according to researchers. 

The study program aims to detect how patients with myeloma precursor conditions are affected by the virus compared to healthy individuals, how severe the prognosis is, and what the long-term immune response is to both infection and vaccination.  

While previous research has shown that African Americans are disproportionately affected by both COVID-19 and multiple myeloma precursor conditions, researchers aren't sure how or if exposure to the virus influences risk of developing myeloma in the future.  

Study participants will be enrolled for one year, and if COVID-19 antibodies are detected, they will provide blood samples every three months throughout the study period. 

Quest Diagnostics will conduct participant antibody testing. 

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