European myeloma network: the value of collaborative research
The European Myeloma Network was established as a result of collaboration and cooperation between myeloma physicians and researchers. The initial impetus that brought this group together came from the Sixth Framework Programme (2002), as the group initially formed to apply for funding from this source. Although the application was unsuccessful, it provided encouragement to continue the activities, and the network was formally established in October 2003. The basic idea was to create interaction between the people working in different areas of myeloma (for example, basic science, clinical trials and patient education) and build an interface to establish standardisation of laboratory techniques such as fluorescent in-situ hybridisation (FISH) techniques for these groups. The aim of the network is to bring these groups together in some way, to deliver better quality research. Resources need to be used wisely, with priorities being set. Establishing a common databank of trials from the European Community where trial data is pooled is one such priority. This project can then extend into the future to analyse clinical, biological and genetic prognostic factors. Looking ahead to other potential benefits of the network, there may be opportunities to examine orphan treatments, and it has the potential to act as the intermediate organisation, helping pharmaceutical companies and tumour working groups in a variety of countries to establish the most appropriate clinical trials.