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Myeloma Minute - February 10, 2005


02.10.05

WHAT'S NEW
  • Federal Cancer Policy: The Big Picture and its Consequences
    The cancer community needs to reverse the current decline in the federal commitment to research and ensure that cancer patients receive fair benefits when the prescription drug benefit of the Medicare Modernization Act goes into effect in 2006.  This week we examine administration’s fiscal year 2006 budget proposal and recent revelations about the increasing costs for the Medicare program.

  • PET Scan Update
    The on-line registry for myeloma patients on Medicare who wish to be reimbursed for PET scans should be open in mid-March, according to sources at CMS, the government agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid.  The patient’s doctor must register him or her online and fill out the data report form in order for the patient to receive Medicare reimbursement.  At present, the on-line registry is still in the works, so the program is not yet functioning.  We will post the information on our web site and in the Myeloma Minute as soon as the registry is up and running.
    Read last week's announcement from the IMF: The IMF Applauds Medicare Decision to Expand PET Scan Coverage for Myeloma Patients.

  • VELCADE Approved For Use In Canada
    treatment of patients with multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer) who have relapsed (failed) following front-line therapy and are refractory (unresponsive) to their most recent therapy. (from PharmaLive)

  • Columbia Research Lifts Major Hurdle To Gene Therapy For Cancer
    Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have discovered a way to overcome one of the major hurdles in gene therapy for cancer: its tendency to kill normal cells in the process of eradicating cancer cells. (from bio.com)

  • Jerry Eisenhower has made it back to San Diego, despite the sea's attempts to swallow the Athena.
    Read the final installments of his remarkable journey.

  • Vaccine hopes for blood cancers
    A vaccine to help patients fend off blood cancers could be a reality in the near future. (from the BBC)

  • Mayo Researchers Use Measles Virus to Fight Cancer
    The measles virus has been tested against a variety of tumors in animal models where it shows a broad spectrum of activity against lymphoma, multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer, glioma and pancreatic cancer. (from Mayo Clinic)

  • Medical specialists put Arkansas on the map
    A nice article about Dr. Barlogie and the crew at UAMS. (from the Baxter, Arkansas Bulletin)

WHAT'S NEW IN RESEARCH

  • CLINICAL TRIALS 
    • VELCADE® trials
    • THALOMID® trials
    • TRISENOX™ trials
    • REVLIMID™ trials
    • DOXIL trials

    • UARK 2003-18, A Phase I Study of KIR-ligand mismatched Natural Killer Cells Transfused before Autologous Stem Cell Transplant in Relapsed Multiple Myeloma
      Purpose: To evaluate the ability of natural killer cells from a family member to kill myeloma cells combined with a standard autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplant(transplant using the patient’s stem cells).

    • Phase II Study of High-Dose Cyclophosphamide and Rituximab in Multiple Myeloma
      The primary purpose of this trial is to measure the event-free survival in patients with myeloma following treatment with high-dose cyclophosphamide and rituximab.  Patients will be eligible for this trial if they have primary refractory myeloma, high risk myeloma is first remission or relapsed myeloma that is sensitive to salvage therapy. Preclinical studies from our laboratory have shown that although malignant plasma cells comprise the bulk of the tumor in myeloma, they have little ability to replicate and self-renew. These studies have also identified the presence of a small population of so-called cancer stem cells. These cancer stem cells resemble B cells and have the ability to self-renew and differentiate into malignant plasma cells. Thus, this trial seeks to combine high-dose cyclophosphamide with rituximab, targeting both the malignant plasma cells and the cancer stem cells in an effort to eradicate them. Patients will receive therapy for 6-8 weeks at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and then must return for follow-up assessments at 2,3,4,6,9, and 12 months following therapy for laboratory assessments. The trial is taking place at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Contact Dr. Carol Ann Huff at huffca@jhmi.edu or at 443-287-7104.

For more information, the Myeloma Matrix has a current list of all myeloma trials from pre-clinical to recently FDA approved. If you would like to browse trials currently open for enrollment, visit the Clinical Trials page of the IMF web site. Among the links, you will find EmergingMed, with whom the IMF has entered into a partnership to assist you in matching trials to your particular patient profile (i.e., stage of disease, previous treatment, how well you are able to carry out the activities of daily living, etc.) and by doing so, increase your chances of being eligible. You can also learn more about clinical trials by reviewing materials from the National Cancer Institute.


UPCOMING EVENTS


WEBCASTS


ITEMS OF INTEREST

After considering the public comments and any additional evidence they will make a final determination and issue a final decision memorandum.


EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES

  • Ever think of walking or running a marathon? 
    Join the IMF Team Milers Against Myeloma and help raise awareness and dollars for cancer research at the Rock-n-Roll Marathon on June 5, 2005 in San Diego, California. If interested in joining Team Milers Against Myeloma, email Candace McDonald, Associate Director of Development at cmcdonald@myeloma.org.

  • Volume II of Cooking with the IMF
    The collection of recipes for Volume II of our very popular healthy food cookbook is being led by Marilyn Alexander, a myeloma survivor from Philadelphia. Please help us with this important project by submitting your favorite recipes.

SHOP FOR THE IMF

Help Us Help Others...
As a non-profit organization, the IMF is completely dependent on the support of our members. Tax-deductible donations in honor of a friend or family member make great gifts and are a wonderful way to celebrate a special occasion. You can donate online or by calling the IMF at (800) 452-CURE. We sincerely thank you for your support.


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