North Hollywood, CA, May 9, 2012 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF)—the oldest and largest foundation dedicated to improving the life and care of myeloma patients—says three studies demonstrating that long term maintenance treatment “significantly improves outcome” and more than doubles remission times, have been published together in the New England Journal of Medicine. The articles cover the use of continuous treatment with the oral drug REVLIMID® both in newly diagnosed patients and following stem cell transplants. Although the findings have been presented separately at medical conferences this marks their first publication together in a scientific “peer reviewed” journal, an indication of the importance of these findings.
Myeloma, often called multiple myeloma, is a disease of cells in the bone marrow. Newer treatments can result in lengthy remissions, and in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine studies demonstrate additional progress:
Two studies, one from France and one from the United States, demonstrated that maintenance treatment with REVLIMID following a stem cell transplant using their own cells (autologous) more than doubled the length of time until the disease began to progress again, and the U.S. study reports the treatment improves overall survival.
A third study from Italy demonstrated that in patients over 65, not generally eligible for a transplant, REVLIMID used in the initial treatment, followed by REVLIMID in a maintenance regimen, also more than doubled the time until the disease progressed, and improved survival: 70% survival at 3 years with this treatment compared to 62% without the maintenance.
The studies were conducted by the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) study sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the French Francophone Myeloma Intergroup (IFM), and from University of Torino in Italy.
The novel therapies, including REVLIMID and VELCADE®, have transformed the treatment of myeloma. With studies such as these doctors are finding new and even better ways to utilize these treatment advances.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Celebrating its 21st anniversary, the International Myeloma Foundation is the oldest and largest myeloma organization, reaching more than 215,000 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 on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. To date, the IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org