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Saturday, "Controversies and Updates in Multiple Myeloma"

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Saturday's presentations were similar to yesterday...that is, nothing new was announced and even the presentation title was similar: Controversies and Updates in MM. The presenters were MM expert docs Sergio Giralt (Memorial Sloan Kettering-NY), Donna Reece (Princess Margaret Hospital-Toronto) and Ken Anderson (Dana Farber-Boston). Dr Reese focused on induction and maintenance treatment, ie the front and back end of treatment. She stated that the "Depth of response usually correlates with benefits measured by Event-Free Survival (EFS) and Overall Survival (OS)." This belief explains why RVD induction and either Velcade consolidation (twice/wk) and maintenance (once every 2 weeks) or Revlimid maintenance are being evaluated in clinical trials. She also summarized secondary cancers (perhaps a 4-8% increased risk) as a concern being looked at very carefully. It appears the secondary cancers showed up early so perhaps patients were pre-disposed to it even before maintenance. And as my fellow patient, friend and doctor Jim Omel points out, "The chances of MM returning are much higher than getting a secondary cancer."

Dr Giralt spoke about the role of transplant and began by stating "There really are multiple [types of ] myelomas...should they all be treated the same?" He noted that while SCT's still show a benefit when compared with non-SCT regimens such as Melpalan-Prednisome-Revlimid (MPR), after 2yrs (OS 90% vs 87%), it's close. And it's why a new trial between France and the US is accruing patients who will compare RVD followed by a transplant or not to help answer questions about transplant benefits.

It's always a pleasure for me to listen to Dr Anderson, who always is so positive about the progress being made in treating MM. I counted between 20-25 new drugs beyond Carfilzomib and Pomolidomide which he spoke about enthusiastically. And these are drugs that are complementing each other at the cellular level. For example, did you know that as good as Velcade is, it also enhances AKt expression (this is bad)? So combine it with an AKt inhibitor such as Perifosine and you get a synergistic benefit. He ended by saying that genomic profiling of patients over time will be necessary for personalized medicine because changes occur..."the best is yet to come". If you ever get a chance to see or listen to Dr Anderson, please do so...I'm sure the IMF will interview him for their ASH updates.

Speaking of the IMF, this afternoon I attended a presentation on how we individuals can get more involved in legislative issues that benefit us. It's easy...just go to their website's Action Center to get involved and make a difference! And tonight I attended an IMF Media Reception followed by a Grants Award Reception where the IMF announces grant awards to various researchers. It was very exciting seeing young researchers investigating myeloma treatments which may make a difference in our future lives.

Here's to young, creative, brilliant minds...

Jack Aiello

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Aiello published on December 10, 2011 7:53 PM.

Friday, a day of Symposiums was the previous entry in this blog.

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