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Report from the 4th Annual Paris Patient & Family Seminar
By Susie Novis
Professor Harousseau and Dr. Durie

On Friday, September 8th, the IMF held its 4th annual Patient & Family Seminar in Paris, France. Prof. Jean Luc Harousseau, chaired the seminar and we returned once again to the beautiful venue, Maison de l'Amerique Latine. For the 4th time, Morgane Yvon organized the meeting, and was very successful in advertising the meeting. She even secured a seminar announcement appeared in Pleine Vie, a well known magazine dedicated to health issues. Over 140 people attended the full day seminar, and for the second year in a row the seminar was interactive, with the audience response system that provided valuable information about current treatment trends in France.

The gardens of Maison de l'Amerique Latine

The IMF would like to extend our most sincere thank you to the esteemed faculty; Prof's. Attal, Durie, Facon, Fermand, Grosbois, Harousseau, and Moreau, for their time and wonderfully informative and greatly appreciated presentations. Also, I would like to thank Françoise Gerard for the wonderful job she did leading the interactive questions!

The Faculty: Drs. Durie, Attal, Moreau and Facon

The day began with Dr. Brian Durie opening the meeting with an Introduction to Myeloma. He gave a wonderful overview of myeloma, including the new criteria for myeloma as well as the important tests needed and the prognostic factors involved to correctly stage the disease. The attendees found his final comments particularly interesting when he noted that reducing stress was as equally important as the treatment to produce a good remission -- and he got a very enthusiastic response when he noted that red wine was shown to have an impact on killing the myeloma cells.

Françoise Gerard and the IMF's David Smith

Prof. Thierry Facon then presented a talk on thalidomide, including the history of thalidomide, how thalidomide works, the indications for this treatment as well as recent data from the IFM (Intergroup Français du Myélome - French Myeloma Group) on the response to treatment. He also covered potential side effects and how thalidomide compared structurally to Actimid and Revlimid.

Professor Moreau

Prof. Philippe Moreau was next, and his talk gave a very nice overview of VELCADE including data from the Summit and Apex trials, response to treatment and included the objectives of the trials, the methods, the results and a final discussion. He showed data on VELCADE in combination with other agents including dexamethasone, melphalan and prednisone.

Professor Attal

Prof. Michel Attal next presented on Lenalidomide (Revlimid). His talk showed the experience of the MM-009 and MM010 trials, and he included the response rates they achieved; the side effects they experienced; and a summary of their efficacy. He also showed data on Revlimid in newly diagnosed MM including V. Rajkumar's study of Revlimid and dexamethasone as well as A. Palumbo's study using Revlimid and melphalan. Both studies were published in Blood.

Prof. Harousseau's presentation was on his experience with allograft in myeloma. He presented a complete picture of the entire allotransplant experience, including auto plus mini-allo as well as a discussion of who is the appropriate patient for any type of transplant procedure.

Prof. Grosbois next led the discussion on supportive care for myeloma, including what to do for infections, anemia, renal problems, and bone complications. He gave a very nice overview of the history of bisphophonates and the role they play in the treatment of bone disease. He also discussed vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty as treatments for compression fractures.

The last presentation was made by Prof. Fermand whose presentation on High-Dose Therapies followed by Stem Cell Transplant included a thorough discussion of the "who, when, what, and at what age" details encompassed in the randomized studies conducted by the two French research groups -- the IFM, as previously mentioned, and the Saint Louis research team. One of the more interesting details revealed that High-Dose Therapy followed by transplant can be appropriate for patients up to 75 years of age, but is not common for those older than 65 years of age because of the associated risks.

The IMF Europe's Greg Brozeit, Ilse Hein, Morgane Yvon, IMF President Susie Novis, Doris Mayerbock, Dr. Durie

We were glad to see our friends, Ilse Hein and Doris Mayerbock, members of the European Myeloma Platform (EMP) in attendance. EMP is an organization formed this past year that currently represents members in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, and Switzerland. It was formed by myeloma patients for myeloma patients and we're sure to be hearing more about EMP in the months to come.

Finally, we'd like to thank the sponsors of the meeting, Celgene Corporation and Pharmion for their continued support of these important seminars.

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