North Hollywood, CA, June 11, 2014 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – and the Korea Blood Cancer Association (KBCA) today announced an affiliation to serve myeloma patients in Korea. The IMF and KBCA signed an affiliate agreement on June 10th, during the IMF’s 5th Annual International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Summit in Milan, Italy. The IMF and KBCA will share information and expertise to increase myeloma awareness, improve patient access to myeloma treatment, and collaborate on myeloma research.
The IMWG Summit, which brings together an extensive network of leading myeloma researchers and clinicians to share recent myeloma advances, also brings together representatives from myeloma patient groups around the world. The IMF has a long history of working collaboratively with international patient organizations to improve patients’ lives and outcomes around the globe.
“The IMF’s mission is to improve the lives of myeloma patients all around the world, and we believe this affiliation with KBCA will benefit myeloma patients in Korea,” said Susie Novis, IMF President and Co-Founder. “IMF representatives attended KBCA’s last two annual patient meetings, where they shared the IMF’s expertise and learned about KBCA’s work. This affiliation allows us to work closely together for the benefit of myeloma patients, physicians, and researchers in Korea.”
The affiliation is “a very important moment for the Korean myeloma patient community,” said Dr. Jae-Hoon Lee, a myeloma expert and IMWG member who attended the signing ceremony at the IMWG Summit in Milan. “Multiple myeloma is rapidly increasing in Asia and has doubled in Korea in the last 10 years. The affiliation with the IMF is KBCA’s first step to getting involved with the global myeloma community to more effectively raise awareness and deal with treatment reimbursement issues.”
In 2010, the IMF established the Asian Myeloma Network (AMN), comprised of myeloma experts from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. The AMN has become a recognized source of expertise for myeloma in the Asian region. Myeloma is a growing health problem in Asia, with an incidence that is approaching that in western countries, but with a much larger population base. AMN’s first project, the Asian Myeloma Data Base, with entries for some 4,000 patients, has provided a wealth of data about myeloma incidence and treatment in the region. It led to the 2013 publication of AMN treatment guidelines for Asia and has provided the impetus for the creation of an AMN Clinical Trials Network. Korean doctors play a leading role in the AMN and the affiliation with KBCA will enhance Korean involvement in this work.
“IMF is committed to doing all we can to address the growing problem of myeloma in Asia,” said Dan Navid, IMF Vice President, Global Affairs. “We are confident that our affiliation with KBCA will enhance collaboration to support patients in Korea, and serve as a model for action in other Asian countries.”
Arin Assero, IMF Vice President, Global Advocacy, said, “the formal affiliation follows nearly two years of a successful partnership with KBCA to give patients a stronger voice in their healthcare choices.”
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Celebrating its 23rd anniversary, the International Myeloma Foundation reaches more than 350,000 members in 120 countries worldwide. A 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. Follow the IMF on Twitter @IMFmyeloma.