--Two Studies in the Prestigious New England Journal of Medicine Validate the Findings--
--The Good News Comes as Myeloma is Reported to be Increasing--
North Hollywood, CA, November 21, 2007 - The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF)—supporting research and providing education, advocacy and support for myeloma patients, families, researchers and physicians—today said findings from two large, international clinical trials are good news for myeloma patients, especially patients with active myeloma despite previous treatments. The newly published data demonstrate that with REVLIMID®, an oral cancer drug, all measures of myeloma showed significant and in some cases unprecedented improvement in patients where previous treatments had failed. This includes a median survival of nearly three years (35 months) with REVLIMID, the longest median survival in this difficult to treat patient group. Survival data were presented at the International Myeloma Workshop in June, and for the first time complete details from two Phase 3 clinical trials, one from the US and one from Europe, are being published simultaneously in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
"REVLIMID saved not just my life, but my quality of life, and with a wife and two young boys at home, that's a blessing," said Elijah Alexander, former linebacker with the Oakland Raiders in the National Football League. He began his treatments with Thalomid, had a bone marrow transplant, and has been on REVLIMID for the past six months. "I was diagnosed when I was just 35 years old, too young to leave my wife as a widow and my boys without a father. With REVLIMID I feel good, I coach my boys' football teams, and when people see me they don't believe I have cancer because I look and feel so healthy."
REVLIMID (lenalidomide) from Celgene is the newest of what are called the novel therapies, which along with THALOMID® and VELCADE® have changed the outlook for myeloma patients. These new studies show REVLIMID plus the steroid dexamethasone achieved "superior results" compared to dexamethasone alone "regardless of the history of treatment." In Europe and the US REVLIMID is being used in myeloma, and in the US it is also approved for a pre-leukemia condition called MDS. It is also being tested in other leukemias and lymphomas and even solid tumors.
"We are pleased that concerted efforts to find effective treatments in what was considered a rare, little-known cancer, have led to drugs like REVLIMID," said Susie Novis, president and co-founder of the International Myeloma Foundation. "Myeloma has been a difficult disease to cure, but with the novel therapies we are developing effective, long-term treatments by using multiple drugs in sequence and in various combinations. The addition of a drug with the potency of REVLIMID to this equation is especially important."
Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a cancer of the bone marrow that affects production of red cells, white cells and stem cells. Although once considered a rare disease of the elderly, it is of growing interest and concern. A recent (Oct 15) report from the American Cancer Society shows that the incidence of myeloma is increasing despite a trend toward decreasing cancer rates in recent years. Myeloma is also being diagnosed in younger people so that half of the patients diagnosed today are younger than 60, and increasingly, the disease is detected in patients under the age of 40. At the International Myeloma Foundation, studies with their DNA bank, Bank On A Cure®, point to environmental toxins and pollutants contributing to this spread of myeloma, while better diagnostic capabilities are helping to find more cases earlier in the course of the disease.
"The increasing incidence of myeloma gives us an urgent need for potent treatments to fight myeloma, and these newly published studies show that by all measures, REVLIMID is impressive," said Brian G.M. Durie, chairman and co-founder of the IMF. "Given current trends we believe these studies will be an important guide to giving patients the most appropriate therapy as early in the course of their disease as possible."
According to the phase 3 studies in the New England Journal of Medicine, the pattern of responses "suggest that treatment (with REVLIMID) early in the course of the disease may be beneficial." In addition, the Compendia, the official physician guidelines, were recently updated to add REVLIMID as an initial treatment for myeloma, so patients don't have to wait until other treatments have failed.
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 120 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and operates Bank on a Cure®, a unique gene bank to advance myeloma research. The IMF was rated as the number one resource for patients in an independent survey by the Target Research Group. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE, or out of the United States at +1 (818) 487-7455. More information is available at www.myeloma.org.
Media Contact: Stephen Gendel (212) 918-4650