Biomarkers Consortium - Single Cell Mass Accumulation Rate as a Biomarker for Drug Efficacy in Multiple Myeloma and Leukemia

A clinical need exists to improve the efficacy of existing treatment and minimize the side effects caused by inappropriate therapy in Multiple myeloma (MM). The MAR project proposes to address this gap by establishing the clinical efficacy and utility of single-cell mass accumulation rate (MAR) to assess tumor cell drug response in MM, leukemia and other cancers. MAR, which measures change in cell growth (not proliferation), is determined by repeatedly calculating the mass of an individual cell over a 20-minute interval with a microfluidic device called a suspended microchannel resonator (SMR). The MAR assay can analyze a broad variety of drugs applicable to several tumor types. If proven to provide an early indication of what treatments effectively target an individual patient’s cancer, the project will provide a clinically feasible predictive response biomarker that directly measures drug effects on single living tumor cells allowing patients to be retested and their therapy adapted as they become resistant to treatment. The assay will greatly assist drug assessment in multiple cancers and could improve clinical trial efficacy.


  • The primary objective of the project is to assess the application of MAR as a predictive response biomarker through ex vivo drug treatment of MM tumor cells. The MAR assay will be used to evaluate multiple therapy options matched to the patient’s expected therapeutic course prior to treatment. Phase 2 will expand the study of MARs predictive value to patients with leukemia treated with targeted monotherapies.
  • The secondary objective is to assess MARs value as a prognostic biomarker that can be used as a metric of patient response to ongoing therapy.


The FNIH currently seeks funding to support this program. 



Or, for more information on how to partner with us, please contact


Private-Sector Partners
Travera LLC*

Academic Partners
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute*
Massachusetts Institute of Technology*
University of Southern California*
Weill-Cornell Medical College*

*Provides financial or in-kind support for this program.

FNIH Contacts

Emily Morgan, Associate Project Manager, Cancer;

Dana E. Connors, Senior Project Manager, Cancer;

Stacey J. Adam, Ph.D., Director, Cancer;