I've been attending ASH with the IMF for 7 years, so this is my 8th ASH! Every year I am inspired and thankful to all of the researchers who are presenting oral presentations and posters on myeloma. Every year I gain more hope that myeloma will be cured! Yes, I am using the word "cure" because the IMF is leading the fight and I KNOW they will accomplish that goal. All you need to do is read about the IMF's Black Swan Research Initiative and know that the team is "working" on MRD-Zero (Minimum Residual Disease).
I was diagnosed in 2000, when treatments were limited to VAD (vincristine and doxorubicin) and we kept stem cell transplant "in our back pocket" as our big gun option. Over the past 10 years, I have seen 8 new treatments approved in the United States. That's more than in the last 50 years!
Today, I was most excited to hear all the different options there are to attack myeloma. The IMF Symposium on Critical Issues Need Answers: Providing Best Options for Myeloma Treatment in 2013 gave us case studies and debates about high risk smoldering myeloma. The question was: to treat or not to treat? A hot topic of discussion.
I was particularly interested in the discussion on maintenance therapy. I've been on Revlimid for eight years since the Expanded Access Program (EAP) 2005. I have a great quality of life and my takeaway from this presentation is to stay on treatment. But I appreciate the debate.
Tomorrow our group will attend the Education Session featuring
- Ola Landren on Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined SignificanCe (MGUS) and Smoldering myeloma: Biological Insights and Early Treatment Strategies
- Maria-Victoria Mateos: How Should We Treat Newly Diagnosed myeloma patients?
- Philip McCarthy Jr: Strategies for Induction, Transplantation, Consolidation, and Maintenance for Transplant Eligible patients.
But what I'm most excited about for Saturday is the IMF Grant Reception, where I'll be joined by other myeloma patients to share stories with the audience about our lives today.
-- Michael Tuohy