North Hollywood, CA, USA and Barcelona, Spain – June 14, 2010 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), the oldest and largest foundation dedicated to improving the life and care of myeloma patients, has concluded the first-of-its-kind inaugural Myeloma Summit meeting - nearly 70 of the world’s leading experts in myeloma and related blood cancers charting the future of myeloma treatment and care. New drugs that modulate the immune system and target features unique to a myeloma cell have extended remissions for patients while providing a good quality of life. However, the availability of a growing number of options raises questions about when to use which treatments for which patients:
Among the issues discussed:
- If and when to use stem cell transplants: use them early when patients are strongest; or rely on drug treatments and delay transplants until or unless they are needed?
- Goal of treatment: treat aggressively to generate a long term remission; or treat gently with fewer side effects, but anticipating relapses and treatment modifications along the way
- Neuropathy: urgent plans to develop and disseminate guidelines to avoid this painful and potentially crippling condition during the course of treatment
The Working Group will issue consensus statements on these and related issues to help guide treatment, and recommend and implement clinical trials that can answer remaining questions fastest to provide the most comprehensive recommendations to-date for the treatment and management of myeloma.
Brian G.M. Durie, M.D., chairman of the IMF and co-chair of The International Myeloma Working Group Summit commented: "Given the wide range of experience within the group, the discussions clearly lay the groundwork to move beyond long term remissions and begin charting a roadmap for an actual cure. My goal is to identify the first group of patients most likely to respond to a cure."
The Myeloma Summit was scheduled between two of the year’s largest cancer conferences, the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) in Chicago and the European Hematology Association (EHA) in Barcelona. Newest findings focus on a shift in care toward continuous treatment to maintain remissions. As the IMF previously noted, studies reported at ASCO demonstrate advantages to continuous treatment with Revlimid® regimens and with Velcade® regimens. Adding to these findings, at EHA, a landmark analysis from Dr. Antonio Palumbo at the University of Torino, Italy, demonstrated that patients 65 to 75 years old, given initial and then continuous treatment with a Revlimid-based regimen, had a 69% reduction in the risk of disease progression compared to those who received only an initial fixed course of Revlimid.
The Myeloma Summit concluded with the presentation of the 2010 Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award, this year going to Dr. Joan Bladé of the Clinic Barcelona Hospital Universitari. Dr. Bladé is co-founder of the Spanish blood cancer research consortium PETHEMA and he helped develop the "Bladé Criteria" to quantify response to myeloma treatments.
ABOUT MULTIPLE MYELOMA
Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow. Once a rare disease of the elderly, multiple myeloma is being diagnosed in growing numbers and in increasingly younger people. Each year approximately 20-thousand new cases are diagnosed in the United States. New treatments have extended remissions for many patients, measured in years not months, with a good quality of life.
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.
Contact: GL BioCom Partners
Los Angeles/Barcelona: Stephen Gendel +1 212-918-4655
New York: Jennifer Anderson +1 212-918-4642