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Treatment Progress Takes on New Urgency as Incidence of Myeloma Continues to Rise

—Five "Long-Term Survivors" to Attend ASH Meeting as Guests of the IMF—

--Treatment Progress Takes on New Urgency as Incidence of Myeloma Continues to Rise--

North Hollywood, CA and Würzburg, Germany - December 2, 2008 - The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF)—supporting research and providing education, advocacy and support for myeloma patients, families, researchers and physicians—today said five long-term survivors will match real-life stories to the  progress being reported by researchers at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).  Multiple myeloma is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affects blood cell production. It cannot be cured, however new therapies used in combination and in sequence are improving quality of life and for many patients, making remissions possible that can be measured in years, not weeks or months. The meeting will be held December 6-9 in San Francisco.

"It is fitting that as ASH marks its half-century milestone, we have seen a leap in progress in just the last few years that is returning many patients to their families, their jobs and their lives," said Susie Novis, president and co-founder of the IMF. "While researchers report progress in terms of statistics, we see progress in the faces of our friends, many of whom will be attending ASH with us. We also congratulate our friend and colleague Dr. Robert Kyle, this year's recipient of the Wallace H. Coulter Lifetime Achievement Award at the ASH meeting, and we can only imagine the dramatic progress he has seen during his long and active career."

The five patients attending the meeting on behalf of the IMF are:

  • Hardy Jones, who at 65 is a five-year myeloma survivor and travels the world making wildlife films that appear on television in the U.S. and abroad, and now focuses his work on toxins in the marine environment that may be linked to incidence of myeloma.
  • Michael Tuohy, who was diagnosed when he was just 36 and told he had only three years to live, but eight years later he's an active and busy husband and father.
  • Terry Barter, who started on REVLIMID® seven years ago when it was still in clinical trials and remains on that same regimen today. He is in full remission.
  • Aldo Del Col, who, seven years into his diagnosis, has outlived the original prognosis of three years.
  • Michael Katz, who was diagnosed when his youngest son was just five years old, and now expects to be there when his son graduates from medical school this spring.

"We expect to see continued encouraging news for these patients at ASH," said Brian G.M. Durie, M.D., chairman and co-founder of the IMF. "This includes follow-up data about longer experience with the novel treatments, THALOMID®, VELCADE® and REVLIMID, and the first look at pomalidomide, the newest of the IMiDs® compounds. We are also pleased that progress that began in myeloma is being reported in leukemias, lymphomas and other blood cancers to help even more patients."

Nevertheless, Dr. Durie explained there is an urgency to this research: "While progress is being made in treatments, the National Cancer Institute has just reported that the incidence of myeloma continues to rise, while for many cancers the number of new diagnoses is falling. The IMF continues to look for genetic and environmental explanations for this trend through our research program Bank On A Cure®."

The IMF will honor the five long-term survivors and their families at a special reception Saturday, December 6, in San Francisco.

The International Myeloma Foundation is the oldest and largest myeloma organization, reaching more than 185,000 members in 113 countries worldwide. A 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients and their families, the IMF focuses in four key areas: research, education, support and advocacy. To date, the IMF has conducted more than 200 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and operates Bank on a Cure®, a unique gene bank to advance myeloma research. The IMF was rated as the number one resource for patients in an independent survey by the Target Research Group. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE, or out of the United States at +1-818-487-7455. More information is available at www.myeloma.org.

Media Contact: Jennifer Anderson (212) 918-4650

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