NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif., October 27, 2014 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – today announced that the organization’s research division, the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), has issued new criteria for diagnosing multiple myeloma. Myeloma is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affects the immune system and can damage bone.
The new diagnostic guidelines, published today in the journal Lancet Oncology, are a result of several years of study and collaboration by the IMWG’s more than 180 myeloma researchers worldwide. The guidelines allow for the diagnosis of myeloma to be made in patients without symptoms and before organ damage occurs, using validated biomarkers associated with the near inevitable development of clinical symptoms.
“This step forward has many important implications,” said IMF Chairman Dr. Brian Durie, “not the least of which is the expectation that earlier treatment will lead to better outcomes.” This, he noted, is the central idea of the IMF’s signature Black Swan Research Initiative®, in which early treatment is coupled with close assessment of residual disease to determine which therapeutic approach will ultimately achieve cure.
The IMWG’s updated criteria represent no less than “a paradigm shift in myeloma,” said Dr. Vincent Rajkumar, lead author of the Lancet Oncology article, in a video interview about the new guidelines. “We are now willing to treat myeloma before symptoms happen.”
In addition to improving outcomes, the new guidelines will improve the quality of life for patients with asymptomatic smoldering multiple myeloma who have an “ultra-high” risk of progression to full-blown disease.
“Finally, instead of enduring the frustrating hurry-up-and-wait approach, these patients will be able to receive early diagnosis and treatment,” said IMF President Susie Novis. “For patients in this situation, the new IMWG guidelines offer tremendous relief. This is an endorsement of moving forward with the effective new myeloma treatments we have today.”
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Established in 1990, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is the oldest and largest foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. The Foundation’s reach extends to more than 350,000 members in 140 countries worldwide. The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure by focusing on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. The IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned InfoLine, and in 2001, established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. In 2013, the IMF launched the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a groundbreaking research project aimed at curing myeloma. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org. Follow the IMF on Twitter @IMFmyeloma.
Debra Gendel, (310) 710-1903, email@example.com