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A Brief History of the International Myeloma Workshop

The Xth International Myeloma Workshop, the largest conference of its type in the world for clinicians and researchers dedicated to scientific progress in the experimental, clinical and therapeutic areas of multiple myeloma, was held in Sydney, Australia in April 2005.

The Xth International Myeloma Workshop was an occasion to marvel at how quickly things can evolve in a relatively short period of time, for it was only 16 years ago that the International Myeloma Workshop first began.

The year was 1987.  The place:  Blenham Palace, London, England.  The first bone marrow transplants for myeloma patients had recently been performed, and Drs. Tim McElwain, Jim Malpas and Peter Selby felt that the myeloma caregiver community was at a crossroads.  In a posh, green velvet room, thirty-five myeloma specialists congregated to form a think tank, known as the Ist International Myeloma Workshop.  The time spent was fruitful and affirming, and the attendees decided they wanted to replicate the experience.

The following year, the IInd International Myeloma Workshop was held stateside, in Houston, Texas, chaired by Dr. Ray Alexanian.  Fifty people attended.

With momentum and enthusiasm on their side, the workshops continued:

III:        1992, Torino, Italy. Dr. Alessandro Pileri, Chair.

IV:       1993, Rochester, MN.  Dr. Robert Kyle, Chair.

V:         1995, LaBaule, France.   Dr. Jean-Luc Harrouseau, Dr. Régis Bataille, Chairs. (Sponsored by the IMF.)

VI:       1997, Boston, MA.  Dr. Kenneth Anderson, Chair.

VII:      1999, Stockholm, Sweden.  Dr. Håkan Mellstedt, Dr. Gostä Gharton, Chairs.

VIII:     2001, Banff, Alberta, Canada.  Dr. Linda Pilarski, Dr. Andrew Belch, Chairs.

IX:       2003, Salamanca, Spain.  Dr. Jesús San Miguel, Dr. Joan Bladé, Chairs.

This year’s Xth International Myeloma Workshop was chaired by Dr. Douglas Joshua, although at this point to call is a “workshop” is a bit of a misnomer.  With over 1000 participants from all over the world, it is a large, vital affair; a landmark event for the myeloma community. 

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