Global Myeloma Voices Come Together to Drive Research and Improve Lives of Patients

Madrid BlogThis past week was very busy and important for the global myeloma community, which is increasingly coming together with a single voice for myeloma research and patient care. In Madrid, Spain, on the eve of the 2017 Congress of the European Hematology Association, the IMF provided platforms for many of these global research voices at the 2017 International Myeloma Working Group® (IMWG) Summit, as well as during the regular research update meeting of the IMF Black Swan Research Initiative® investigators team.

Are Cure Claims for CAR T-Cell Therapy Premature?

The top news to come out of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which concluded on Tuesday, focused on claims that immune cellular therapy with CAR T-cells provides a potentially curative approach for myeloma. It is way too soon, in my opinion, for such suggestions, both in terms of treatment benefit and toxicities and/or side effects.

Is prevention of myeloma within reach?

Could myeloma be prevented through dietary recommendations, lifestyle changes, and occupational precautions? There is growing evidence that intervention strategies such as these might offer hope—and these ideas will be tested for the first time in the Black Swan Research-funded iStopMM® project in Iceland.

Myeloma News Roundup: ASCO Abstracts Released, China Meetings Succeed, and iStopMM Clinic Officially Opens

The abstracts for the 2017 ASCO annual meeting, to be in held June 2nd to June 6th in Chicago, were released late yesterday. Among the 84 myeloma and/or amyloid or plasma cell disorders abstracts, there are 10 oral presentations. There are no blockbuster myeloma presentations this year. Most abstracts deal with results with novel combination therapies incorporating, for example, daratumumab (and other anti-CD38 antibodies), checkpoint inhibitors, venetoclax, pomalidomide, and carfilzomib.

The results of the EMN02/HO95 (Hovon) trial for transplant-eligible patients evaluating the role of minimal residual disease (MRD) testing (Abstract #8011) will be presented. The denosumab and Zometa randomized trial dataset presentation will again illustrate the lesser renal toxicities with denosumab (Abstract #8005). An important analysis evaluates cardiovascular toxicities with carfilzomib (Abstract #8018). An interesting study finds that patients with an elevated BMI who have SMM are more likely to progress—important because of potential weight-loss intervention (Abstract #8032). Several studies look at costs. Overall, there are quite a few interesting observations here which are helpful in defining and refining novel agent treatment strategies moving forward.

 

72 Hours, 5 Countries: A Snapshot of the International Myeloma Foundation’s Global Impact

From May 4th through May 6th, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) made its presence known around the globe.  Reflecting on the many activities the IMF was involved with, I realize how lucky we are and how critical it is to be part of so many wonderful and important collaborations. It is all well and good to have brilliant ideas alone in the research lab. But only by linking arms with like-minded people—scientists, patients, caregivers, and advocates—will we truly move forward to find the pathway to a cure.

 

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