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Maximizing Effectiveness of New Treatments by Aiming at Right Targets Is Key to Success

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There was a huge turnout Friday at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) conference session on Best Options for Myeloma Treatment. Nearly a thousand medical professionals attended. Myeloma experts from around the world addressed and debated best treatments for myeloma at various stages of the disease.  

A key focus was emphasis on the need for more detailed data on myeloma to clarify various subtypes and tailor treatments accordingly. Robin Tuohy of IMF and Cindy Chmielewski of the Philadelphia Myeloma Networking Group hit the nail on the head with their tweets:  "Myeloma is not one disease" and "Myeloma is a heterogeneous disease. It's not one size fits all," respectively.  As Dr. Vincent Rajkumar of Mayo Clinic said, one of the biggest problems in multiple myeloma is that we don't have adequate definition of subtypes yet. We need to get more specific--to clearly define those categories of myeloma that are responsive to particular medications, such as immunomodulatory drugs (thalidomide, lenalidomide, pomalidomide) and other drug types.

IMF's Black Swan Research Initiative® and its effort to develop tools that will measure minimum residual disease (MRD) will help immensely in this effort.  Bottom line:  myeloma experts here are very excited about new and emerging treatments, and they want to maximize their effectiveness by aiming them at the right targets --hopefully someday leading to cures for the disease, in all of its subtypes. 

-- Jerry Walton

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