Sunday's sessions of the 54th Annual American Society of Hematology meeting was filled with Oral Presentations by Myeloma researchers worldwide. Repeated themes from previous days include:
- Myeloma is not one disease
- Myeloma is different from patient to patient and
- Myeloma manifestation/clones change over the life of a single patient
- Risk stratification and disease staging need to be combined to predict overall survival and design optimal treatment
New themes that I heard today include:
- There is better understanding of not only patients but also the Myeloma's gene profile expression.
- As a result, individualization of treatment is in the near horizon
- Targeting the Myeloma is important. Targeting its micro environment is as important
- Helped with Novel treatment regiments, the 5 year survival of patients older than 65 has almost doubled from 2006 to 2010 compared with 2001 to 2005
- Pomolidomide is an important drug. It seems to work even when other IMiDs stop working
Dr. Durie summarized the Dynamic Drug Development Landscape as follows:
- Existing Drugs -> New Combination
- New Drugs -> Coming Along
- IV <-> Injection <-> Oral
At the end of the day, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), with Myeloma Canada and the IMF Latin America, held a Journalists' Workshop. There were many great discussions by Drs. Durie, Paul Richardson, Xavier Leleu and Robert Orlowski. Dr. Orlowski focused on Carfilzomib while Dr. Leleu focused on Pomalidomide. Dr. Richardson drove the need to prevent Myeloma disease from running away. He indicated because Myeloma increasingly becomes resistant to treatment its best to get as best an initial CR or VGPR as possible. As such there is no need to keep your best treatment for later.
He used an interesting analogy and said "In the absence of a mongoose we need to keep the snake in the basket".
Just like during yesterday's award ceremony, patient stories reminded Doctors and Journalists that this is not a theoretical scientific discussion but rather a life and death balancing act.
The major message of the evening was delivered by Susie Novis, co-founder and president of the IMF. Susie indicated there are over a million patients living with Myeloma worldwide. Of these over 40% of them are younger than 65 and there is currently an 8 year old Brazilian who is diagnosed with Myeloma. While rapid advances are being made in the standard of care for Myeloma, that standard of care is NOT global. She asked why treatment should stop at borders when Myeloma doesn't.
Sharing the Hope!Yelak from the North Texas Myeloma Support Group!