FDA Approvals and Prize-Winning Research Are Welcome Good News for Myeloma Patients

On September 28, the US FDA permitted marketing of ClonoSEQ assay, a next-generation sequencing (NGS) test used for assessing minimal residual disease (MRD) in multiple myeloma. This is excellent news and strongly supports the validity of MRD testing as a major predictive indicator. In parallel with this announcement, the MRD testing results in the IFM 2009 trial (evaluating VRd ± ASCT) were published in Blood.

Myeloma Warrior Spirit Takes Many Forms

I was recently saddened to learn about a myeloma patient I had seen in consultation many years ago, who, unfortunately, passed away from secondary complications at the age of 76, after 24 years of myeloma. An ASCT (autologous stem cell transplant) had really knocked out his myeloma, which was not a problem thereafter.

Cure Is the Primary Goal, But Let’s Not Forget Prevention

The myeloma “cure” trials CESAR and ASCENT, which are part of the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI) project, are active and ongoing, and I will be providing an update very soon. However, another aspect of the Black Swan project is to understand what causes myeloma and to develop prevention strategies. This is a key element of the iStopMM study, in which full details of patients’ medical history, exposures, and DNA sequence information can be reviewed and assessed. But what questions do we ask? And what clues do we have to guide the discovery process?

Living Beyond the Diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma with Resilience

The diagnosis of multiple myeloma is a life-changing event. A complex, life-threatening problem has the power to overwhelm. The recent heatwave in California offered poignant examples of the impact of acute stress on ourselves and the environment.  Although the massive wildfires were not close to homes here in Los Angeles, temperatures above 100 degrees burned the leaves off trees and other plants. What was striking to me was the major sprouting and regrowth which has occurred in the three weeks since then. There are natural mechanisms to rebound and recover. These are the kinds of mechanisms and tools myeloma patients need.

The Internaional Myeloma Working Group forges the path to precision myeloma care

Each patient with multiple myeloma is different. Within a myeloma support group, one can learn a lot about testing and treatments, but outcomes for individual patients are often very different. These differences must be studied in rigorously designed clinical trials to double-check test results and treatment details. So, while it might be tempting to compare what happened with Joe or Mary to yourself, the best guidance for your individual treatment is based on the best myeloma research, clinical trials, consensus statements, and guidelines.