Transplant at Relapse: Is It Valuable?

More than two dozen experts from around the world gathered in Minneapolis, Minn. Oct. 27, 2014 to assess the current landscape for autologousstem cell transplant (ASCT) as an option for myeloma patients who have relapsed. “Salvage” transplant—despite its rather gruesome-sounding name—offers an effective treatment choice for patients who have had a positive prior response to transplant.

Surprise rejection of panobinostat for approval by 5-2 margin at ODAC Hearing

Today's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) hearing convened in an optimistic fashion with many in the myeloma community expecting there would be a recommendation for approval of panobinostat, an HDAC inhibitor used in combination with Velcade and dexamethasone. Publicly available data indicated a 3.9 months progression-free survival (PFS) or remission duration benefit with the three-drug panobinostat combination in patients who had been treated with 1-3 prior therapies.

Diagnosing Myeloma Early: New IMWG Guidelines

For some time, members of theInternational Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), the IMF's research division, have been trying to identify and describe a group of patients without 

Are We Starting to Cure Myeloma?

In a recent paper in the journal Blood, Dr. Bart Barlogie and his team at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock claim they are "Curing myeloma at last: defining criteria and providing the evidence." This is a bold statement.  I would argue that while the paper provides a statistical/computer model, achieving and documenting true cure demands a follow-up of individual patients and cannot be predicted by a computer model.

Cancer Drug Costs: Is the System Broken?

This past weekend, "60 Minutes" focused on the high cost of cancer drugs. Although the discussion centered on treatments for colon cancer and chronic myelogenous leukemia, it is an across-the-board problem. Lesley Stahl interviewed experts at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center about the very high cost--$11,000 a month--for a new drug, Zaltrap, to treat colon cancer, versus $5,000 a month for a very similar drug, Avastin. The prolonged survival benefit of 1.4 months did not seem to justify the doubled cost.

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