North Hollywood, CA, August 3, 2010 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), the oldest and largest foundation dedicated to improving the life and care of myeloma patients, today said promising data suggest a new drug called carfilzomib could become an important new option for patients whose myeloma stops responding to other therapies. Carfilzomib, from Onyx Pharmaceuticals, is a next-generation proteasome inhibitor that disrupts the life cycle of a cancer cell, and carfilzomib has shown favorable tolerability. Based on this Phase II clinical trial, Onyx could seek accelerated drug approval from the FDA by the end of 2010.
"We are pleased that the IMF was able to contribute to patient communication and enrollment efforts as we support development of new therapies," said Susie Novis, President and co-founder of the IMF. "The increased survival and higher quality of life we are seeing in myeloma patients is due in large part to the arsenal of new drugs available to patients. Newer drug candidates such as carfilzomib could play an important role in extending remissions for patients when other drugs stop working."
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affect blood cell production. Current medical treatments include proteasome inhibitor VELCADE®, the immunomodulatory IMiDs®, REVLIMID® and THALOMID®, and a new IMiD under development, pomalidomide. The drugs are used in sequence and in combination to create and extend remissions. In this latest study, 24% of patients in this difficult-to-treat group achieved an overall response with carfilzomib when at least two previous treatments had stopped working.
"We have made progress moving myeloma toward becoming a chronic disease with long-term remissions," said Brian G.M. Durie, M.D., Chairman and co-founder of the IMF. "However we do not have a cure, which means we need newer drugs to maintain these remissions in patients who have exhausted current options."
"We are committed to bringing carfilzomib to myeloma patients who have extremely limited treatment options," stated Michael G. Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer at Onyx. "We are pleased to have worked side by side with the IMF to educate and enroll patients in this clinical trial. We look forward to continuing to work with the IMF as they help make promising therapies available to patients as quickly as possible."
Once a rare disease of the elderly, multiple myeloma is being diagnosed in growing numbers and in increasingly younger people. Myeloma affects an estimated 750,000 people worldwide, and each year approximately 20,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States alone.
ABOUT The International Myeloma Foundation
The International Myeloma Foundation is the oldest and largest myeloma organization, reaching more than 195,000 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 can be reached at (800) 452-CURE. The global website is www.myeloma.org.
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