VELCADE Approval as an Initial Treatment Broadens Options for Patients
North Hollywood, CA, September 29, 2008 - The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF)—supporting research and providing education, advocacy, and support for myeloma patients, families, researchers, and physicians—today heralded the expansion of treatment options for previously untreated patients with multiple myeloma, giving patients in Canada and Europe access to drugs similar to what is available to patients in the United States.
The announcement, made on September 8, 2008 by the European Commission, provides for the approval of VELCADE® (bortezomib) for injection, in combination with melphalan and prednisone, for the treatment of patients with previously untreated multiple myeloma, who are not eligible for high-dose chemotherapy with bone marrow transplant. VELCADE is already approved for myeloma patients who have received at least one prior therapy.
On September 2, 2008, VELCADE received Health Canada approval for previously untreated multiple myeloma, in the same indication as mentioned above. With these new approvals, patients with multiple myeloma may now receive VELCADE earlier following an initial disease diagnosis.
Says Greg Brozeit, Director IMF Europe, "These announcements underscore the consistent and important momentum we have observed in the last 15 months, where treatment options are expanding outside of the U.S. to give new hope for previously untreated patients with multiple myeloma."
Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a cancer of the bone marrow that affects the production of red cells, white cells, and stem cells. VELCADE, along with what are called the other novel therapies - thalidomide and REVLIMID® - has changed the outlook for myeloma patients. However, until this year, only thalidomide (THALOMID® in the U.S.) had been approved for newly diagnosed patients. Unofficially, many doctors are already using the novel therapies for the full range of patients, based on clinical data.
Adds Carol Westberg of Myeloma Canada, "We are pleased to see that there is a worldwide continuum of approvals of important drug options. This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and hope-filled times in the history of multiple myeloma patient treatment."
VELCADE is the first in a new class of medicines called proteasome inhibitors, which disrupt the life cycle of a cancer cell. More than 100,000 patients in 87 countries worldwide have been treated with VELCADE.
About the International Myeloma Foundation
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 can be reached at (800) 452-CURE. The global Website is www.myeloma.org with a companion Website in Spanish at www.myelomala.org.
CONTACT: Peggy Frank, 818 735 3591