The Myeloma Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received a generous gift from Celgene Corporation to benefit patients with multiple myeloma through the creation of The Bart Barlogie Center for Molecular Diagnostics and the establishment of the Celgene Distinguished Endowed Chair in Molecular Therapeutics.

“This is an exciting, new collaboration between the Myeloma Institute and Celgene, bringing together leading institutions for consummate innovation in myeloma research,” said Gareth Morgan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the institute. “There has been a 57 percent increase in the total number of myeloma survivors since 2001 as a result of medical innovation. This is encouraging news for myeloma patients and our health care system but we can and must do better. The Bart Barlogie Center creates an exciting opportunity for the next generation of revolutionary transformation in myeloma care.

“The use and refinement of genomics and other novel diagnostic tools will enable development of precision medicine strategies aimed at targeting the distinct genetic signals that affect each patient’s disease. Through a deeper understanding of the molecular changes that take place in myeloma, the Myeloma Institute will be better equipped to identify the most appropriate drug therapies that will produce the best outcomes with minimal toxicity and that will make a cure truly achievable for the majority of patients,” Morgan said.

“Celgene’s contribution to the UAMS Myeloma Institute reflects our continuing commitment to advance transformational science, deliver life-enhancing medicines and serve patients with multiple myeloma the world over,” said Bob Hugin, chairman and CEO of Celgene Corp. “The Myeloma Institute has established itself as a leader in developing precision medicine strategies, and we’re happy to support it in continuing that standard of innovation and excellence.”

From its founding in 1989 until 2014, Barlogie led the UAMS myeloma program. Barlogie chose in 2014 to step down as director of the Myeloma Institute to focus on clinical care and research, with an emphasis on curing high-risk myeloma. Morgan became director July 1. He came to UAMS from The Royal Marsden Institute NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Cancer Research in London where he was a professor of hematology and director of the Centre for Myeloma Research.

At a ceremony today at UAMS, Gov. Asa Hutchinson thanked Celgene for supporting UAMS and the state of Arkansas.

“A shared compassion for myeloma patients and their care along with a commitment to innovation in that care has been the foundation of a vital, long-lasting partnership between Celgene and the Myeloma Institute,” Hutchinson said.

The myeloma program at UAMS has seen more than 11,000 patients from every state in the United States and more than 50 foreign countries and has performed more than 9,000 peripheral blood stem cell transplants.

“Barlogie and his colleagues fundamentally changed the course of the disease and its effects through new diagnostic procedures and therapeutic interventions,” Hugin said. “Celgene has been happy to work with him for many years, and we wanted to acknowledge his achievement in a lasting and meaningful way with this center.”

An endowed chair is one of the highest academic honors that can be bestowed on its most distinguished faculty by a university and donor. The endowment provides a dependable source of income for academic program support and creates permanent legacies for some of its most distinguished professors. Celgene contributed $10 million to the UAMS Myeloma Institute for The Bart Barlogie Center for Molecular Diagnostics and the endowed chair.

“The Celgene Endowed Chair in Molecular Therapeutics will ensure continued recruitment and support retention of the highest caliber faculty members, who will bring new ideas and create new programs related to molecular therapeutics, an essential component of precision medicine,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “We’re grateful for this generous gift from a company that has such a strong history of collaboration with the Myeloma Institute and UAMS.”

Headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, Celgene Corp. is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and delivery of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through gene and protein regulation.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,890 students and 782 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state.