The IMF team has just returned from the International Myeloma Workshop (IMW) meeting in Kyoto, Japan, held from April 3rd through April 7th, 2013. The IMW was like a "mini-ASH" devoted to myeloma.
The meeting had a jam-packed program running from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. with investigators squeezing in extra meetings before, after and in between. The broad scope of myeloma was covered in education sessions as well as debates and Q & A sessions. Corporate-sponsored sessions were interspersed with traditional scientific sessions. There was also a large area for poster presentations.
The meeting began with a fireworks display, which kicked off the first night's special opening ceremony at the lake area adjacent to the venue in Kyoto. This was greatly appreciated by the attendees who, from that point forward, were busy from morning until late at night.
Although many sessions were overview summaries, a number of new aspects are worthy of note. For example, on Friday April 5th there was a spirited debate between Dr. Sagar Lonial and Dr. Robert Orlowski on the value of Minimal Residual Disease assessment. It seemed that Dr. Orlowski "won," affirming the need for new and better testing for M.R.D., which is part of the IMF's Black Swan Research Initiativeï¿½ (BSRIï¿½).
In the Plenary Session on Saturday morning, several treatment-related abstracts were presented, many with updates from ASH presentations in December 2012. An important new presentation was from Dr. Ola Landgren, who showed for the first time results with Kyprolis/Revlimid/Dexamethasone in high-risk smoldering myeloma (early active myeloma).
Although the results are early, the depth of responses is very impressive and results are promisingly excellent.
A key added benefit at the workshop for most myeloma investigators was the opportunity to network and discuss active and potential new projects. It was clear that, for the future, this is an important aspect and needs to be enhanced by allowing more time during the meeting and locating it at a venue nearer to hotels and lodgings.
By arriving a day early, the IMF was able to facilitate several meetings, including the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) breakfast meeting, the Asian Myeloma Network meeting, a Pomalidomide Roundtable, and an interactive discussion/debate of current myeloma therapies in Asia versus those in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, IMF team members Lisa Paik and Dan Navid accompanied a group of Chinese myeloma specialists for a full-day hospital visit, which was very well received.
The following day, at the official start of the IMW, IMF President and Co-Founder Susie Novis was given the opportunity to present on the research activities of the IMF. The audience was treated to a short video presentation that highlighted the work of the International Myeloma Working Group, Asian Myeloma Network, and some of the other research programs supported by the IMF.
In addition, the IMF Japan held a patient seminar on Saturday, April 6th. Susie presented a program about the "power of information" for patient care and was very well received by the group meeting, led by Ms. Kyoko Joko and supported by Mrs. Midori Horinouchi.
This IMW was exhausting, but rewarding. Many new connections were made. Many plans for the future were organized. There are now great hopes and expectations for the next IMW, to be held in Rome in September 2015, hosted by Doctors Antonio Palumbo, Mario Boccadoro, and Michele Cavo. In the meantime, we all have very pleasant memories of the cherry blossoms, which were in full bloom for the Kyoto meeting and greatly appreciated by all.
Congratulations to Prof. Kazuyuki Shimizu and his local organizing committee for organizing a great workshop.