North Hollywood, California, USA and Würzburg, Germany, October 07, 2007 -- The International Myeloma Foundation -- conducting research and providing education, advocacy, and support for myeloma patients, families, researchers, and physicians worldwide - today said published data provides encouraging news for nearly half the patients newly diagnosed with myeloma, patients who are 65 and older. The results of a multi-center clinical trial show adding thalidomide to the standard treatment, melphalan and prednisone, increased average survival to more than 4 years, a year and a half more than the same treatment without thalidomide. The study comes from the French Intergroupe Francophone Myélome, and is published in the current issue of the medical journal Lancet.
"This is an important milestone for all patients because the data are included in Pharmion's application to make THALIDOMIDE PHARMION available for myeloma in Europe," said Susie Novis, president and co-founder of the IMF. "The International Myeloma Foundation would like all patients to have the same ready and safe access to thalidomide as they do in the United States. Thalidomide was approved in the U.S. for newly diagnosed myeloma in 2006 where it was developed as THALOMID® by the Celgene Corporation along with the industry-leading S.T.E.P.S. risk management program to ensure that all patients have safe access to is clinical benefits."
The study involved patients between 65 and 75 years old who are not eligible for intense bone marrow transplants. The study used the melphalan-prednisone-thalidomide (MPT) regimen as the first treatment in patients who were newly diagnosed.
"Thalidomide is the first of what are called the novel therapies that, along with VELCADE® and REVLIMID®, are dramatically changing the outlook for patients with multiple myeloma," said Brian G.M. Durie, M.D. chairman and co-founder of the IMF. "Having multiple drugs available for use in combination and in sequence is extending lives far longer than was possible just a few years ago, and these data, demonstrating an average four year survival from just this one regimen, are especially encouraging for elderly patients with fewer options."
The data verify preliminary findings that first raised excitement at the international ASCO conference last year. They also dovetail with study results in the US where thalidomide is used with the steroid dexamethasone, demonstrating increased survival and a longer time before the myeloma progresses.
Thalidomide was first tested in multiple myeloma in 1997. Within a year thalidomide became recognized as the most promising new agent for multiple myeloma at the time, and it remains an essential part of both the treatment regimen and research into the underlying mechanisms of blood and related cancers.
ABOUT The International Myeloma Foundation
The International Myeloma Foundation is the oldest and largest myeloma organization, reaching more than 165,000 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 100 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 with a companion Website in Spanish at www.myelomala.org.
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International Myeloma Foundation