Preview of the Black Swan Research Initiative’s First US Cure Trial

This week, Dr. Shaji Kumar shares the details of the upcoming US ASCENT “Cure Trial” in a video interview on IMF-TV. ASCENT stands for Aggressive Smoldering Cure Evaluating Novel Rx Transplant. This long-anticipated clinical trial, expected to launch in late Fall 2016, is based on key tenets of the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI)®:

Is MRD testing ready for “prime time”?

The answer is a definite yes and no! Yes, it is now a priority to test for minimal residual disease (MRD) in myeloma clinical trials. However, no, MRD testing is not yet recommended in routine clinical practice.  But I’m pleased to report that we are getting there.

Myeloma Moonshot: The IMF’s Data-Driven Approach Already a Proven Success

Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Summit last week brought the search for a cure back into the news with the announcement of the “shared data initiative.”  Some myeloma patients have asked, “Can the IMF benefit from this approach?”  What they may not realize is that we’ve been sharing data all along! The IMF’s International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) has been gathering and sharing data from all major myeloma institutions globally for more than a decade. And our Black Swan Research Initiative®, launched in 2012, is actively sharing data on our path to find the cure.

7th Annual International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Summit a big success

Synergy at the 7th Annual IMWG Summit was the hallmark of this year’s event in Copenhagen, Denmark. Despite very tight scheduling—many key speakers flew directly from the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago—the level of engagement and collaboration was remarkable. “I feel a strong sense of myeloma community,” observed Prof. Philippe Moreau, an IMWG Summit co-chairman. “The top myeloma investigators in the world all working together to achieve common goals.”

ICER blinks and patients benefit

The much-awaited ICER (Institute for Clinical and Economic Review) Final Report for myeloma relapse therapies, issued on June 9th, is very tentative and less of a report than an admission that they do not have the expertise to adequately assess the complexities of new myeloma therapies. Functioning under a microscope for the last few months, ICER concedes in a statement at the end of the report that a “Fail First” policy is a mistake for myeloma patients. They have also indicated that they have come to understand that each patient is unique and different and that all therapies will be required during the course of multiple relapses. Also, a system which favors use of panobinostat (an HDAC inhibitor with limited efficacy) over daratumumab (an anti-CD38 antibody with 30% activity as a single agent in relapse refractory disease) is clearly flawed.

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