COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE IMF AND MILLENNIUM PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. BENEFITS NURSING AND OTHER HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS AND PATIENTS.
The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., of Cambridge, MA, the developer of VELCADE® (bortezomib) for Injection, are collaborating on a national medical education program designed for oncology nurses. VELCADE is a new and novel agent approved by the FDA in May 2003 for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma patients.
Through an unrestricted educational grant provided by Millennium, the IMF is developing a multifaceted approach to reach as many health professionals as possible. The initiative includes a series of accredited Continuing Education (CE) programs. These programs will include roundtable discussions for oncology nurses delaing with their clinical experience in treating patients with VELCADE, frequently asked questions about the therapy, and case studies around nursing issues. In addition, nurse speakers are available to speak at support group meetings, and there will be presentations by oncology nurses from key trial centers on the VELCADE mechanism of action, clinical and safety data, and additional educational information regarding strategies for effective patient management. Facets of the program will be available through multiple venues including the IMF website, CD-ROM, support group meetings, and Patient & Family Seminars.
A listing of these initiatives will be featured on a web-hosted portal accessible through the IMF website at www.myeloma.org. In addition to educating health care professionals and patients about the risks and benefits of proteasome inhibition therapy, this exciting initiative will also introduce new prospects for treatment and symptom management.
The website, which will be accessed from the IMF website, www.myeloma.org, will include a page of Frequently Asked Questions for health professionals and patients in addition to programs for CE credit for nurses and pharmacists. Some of the programs currently in production include a Video Roundtable of oncology nurses discussing their experience with VELCADE and outlining expectations for nurses and patients involved in treatment. Case Studies, approved for CE credit, will also be available on the website and on CD ROM. Topics will cover real life situations in which health professionals have opportunities to address the concerns of patients suffering from multiple myeloma.
The Speakers Bureau is made up of experienced oncology nurses who have received special training to speak to professional and patient groups on the mechanism of proteasome inhibition, the safe administration of VELCADE, and the best way to advise patients on the management of symptoms associated with VELCADE. To date, hundreds of practicing oncology nurses have been reached during programs throughout the United States.
In addition, a VELCADE Nurse-on-Call program is available within the U.S. in all time zones, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Six nurses with extensive experience using VELCADE are available through this service to answer questions from other nurses about their concerns in administering VELCADE and to share their experiences in managing side effects. Nurses calling outside the staffed hours may leave a message; they will receive a call back as soon as possible.
This educational initiative is unusually comprehensive and innovative. From one-on-one conversations between oncology nurses, to education programs, to a continually updated website, health professionals and patients alike will be able to learn about the latest developments in treatment options for multiple myeloma.