In my last blog I attempted to describe what it's like to cover an important conference like ASH as a patient.
I used my experience at Saturday's poster session to set the stage for some important news from the San Diego Convention Center.
So let's get back to my research poster experience that I started to share with you yesterday.
As I walked up and down the rows--flanked by posters of different colors and sizes on both sides--I found my mind wondering back to my recent "close call" following my stem cell transplant this summer.
Even though it looks like my RVD (Revlimid/Velcade/dex) therapy is working post-transplant, I can't shake that "close call" experience of realizing I might be running out of treatment options.
What was I looking for? New therapy ideas for patients (like me!) who are facing difficult salvage therapy decisions in the near future.
Mmm. Here's a poster with Phase 2 study results which combines a traditional leukemia and lymphoma drug, bendamustine, with Velcade. I wonder if bendamustine, might be the answer?
I have a friend who has run out of therapy options. As a last ditch effort, his Mayo Clinic oncologist started him on bendamustine--and it seems to be working so far.
Here's another poster with research data about Cytoxan, another alkaloid class "blast from the past." I think Cytoxan has been around longer than bendamustine.
I have another myeloma patient friend who is doing wonderfully on nothing but Cytoxan and prednisone. It has worked for him for over a year.
Of course, there are some new novel therapy agent options represented on posters here as well, like carfilzomib, pomalidomide and elotuzumab.
Now if these hard working researchers and clinicians can get the FDA to approve some of this stuff, a lot of my fellow patients will benefit.
As a post script, I would like to note one advantage of studying older, established drugs like Cytoxan and bendamustine: They can be prescribed "off label" for use almost immediately outside a clinical trial setting.
Time to have fun, kick-back and read some of these study results...
Until next time, feel good and keep smiling!