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April 2011 Archives

Packing and Prepping for Paris

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Jack2.jpgDuring the last few days before leaving for the International Myeloma Workshop in Paris, I started prepping for these meetings.  That meant going to the IMW website and reviewing the agenda and examining abstracts that might be available.  

I'll attend all of the meetings, which begin Tuesday, May 3, but I'm sure some presentations and results will be more interesting and relevant to patients who are looking for near-term answers.

For example, Tuesday's meetings will focus on molecular pathways, genetics, cell biology and animal models.  While that research is critical to successful drug and treatment development for personalized medicine, I don't know if information presented will make a difference in our decision-making today.

Yet, I'll bet that if I had attended the first IMW 13 years ago, I would be able to point to available treatments today that came from laboratory research presented back then.

I'm really looking forward to hearing presentations Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that focus on topics such as optimizing patient outcomes, treatment protocol comparisons, new drug--as well as maintenance--results, and minimizing side effects. 

We always ask questions about transplants (sooner, later, or not at all), whether or not to treat early stage myeloma, what's the best treatment for me, how long should I continue treatment/biophosphonates/maintenance, and can dosages be reduced.

So now, I'd better start packing.

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As a 16-year survivor of multiple myeloma, when I was given the opportunity to attend the May 3-6, 2011 International Myeloma Workshop in Paris and blog about it from a patient's perspective, I said "absolutely."

After all, the ASH (American Society of Hematology) conference was only five months ago, but so much has happened since then. I'm looking forward to passing along that news to you in this blog.

For example, one of the studies the IMF is excited about shows overall survival on maintenance for the right myeloma patients. Other news we'll be hearing from presenters in Paris are updated results from trials using Carfilzomib, Pomalidomide and many more drugs.

A bit of background about me: Sixteen years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 multiple myeloma. In 1998, I had a full allo transplant using my sister's stem cells.  While I battled graft-versus-host disease and had three plasmacytomas radiated during the next two-to-three years, I've been in a complete remission with no treatment for the last eight years.

However, I believe that one day my myeloma will return.  While I'm not medically trained, I've stayed in close contact with the myeloma community and seen amazing research and treatment results over the last 10 years. 

I've been fortunate enough to have attended the last five ASH  conferences and shared results with our S.F. Bay Area myeloma support group and others around the country. 

The Paris presentations, according to the agenda, will start before 8 a.m. and continue until at least 7 p.m. I am excited to share what I learn from this jam-packed event with you! 

Stay tuned...




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