ASH 2013 Preview, Part 1: More Than 100 Interesting and Important Myeloma Abstracts

The ASH 2013 abstracts were released on November 7th.  As usual, there are a staggering number of myeloma abstracts: this year, 830. The IMF team has been reviewing them studiously, trying to identify what is new, interesting, and important. We have identified 131 abstracts worthy of specific comment: 38 oral presentations and 93 posters.

Are Oreo Cookies Really Addictive? Update on 'the Good, Bad, and We're Not Too Sure!'

There is a constant flood of information about food. This is partly because we all eat and someone is always trying to sell us a cookie, organic salad, or whatever we want or crave.  But it is also because there is a lot of new and important information, which can guide our decisions.

Minimal Residual Disease Testing: A New Way Forward

There are two important news items to report this week.  First, an article in Blood reports that current MRD testing for myeloma in the US is producing quite erratic results.

In Cancer Research, Big Data Needs to Be Smart, Too

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has announced that it will partner with IBM's Watson supercomputer to fight cancer - specifically leukemia. But myeloma patients may well ask:  "What can Big Data do for me?" The answer is: "A lot." 

Understanding the Body's Immune Defenses Against Myeloma

A recent article in the New York Times draws attention to how cancers survive and evade the immune system and highlights a new book, "The Compatibility Gene: How Our Bodies Fight Disease."  The key point for myeloma research is that inactivation of T-lymphocyte cells and natural killer cells--which should be killing myeloma cells--occurs through a mechanism called the PD-1/PD-L1 system.