Recently in Yelak Biru Category
Thursday we heard the news of Nelson Mandela's passing. Not only was Mandela a survivor but he was also a fighter - just like myeloma patients. Mandela didn't embark on this life-long fight for his life and the freedom of South Africans and the teaching of forgiveness by himself. As with any struggle -- political, social, personal, financial or medical, a lot of people that didn't get to benefit directly from his success invested time, money, effort and other hard and intangible capital. But, Mandela inspired purpose.
I am hoping the 800+ medical practitioners that attended Friday's IMF Satellite Symposium would be inspired by the thousands of myeloma patients, families, caregivers and extended families, present and past, to dedicate their practice, research and $$ to finding a better treatment option for myeloma patients. I would be good with a Cure too!
During last year's ASH, #ASH12, I heard Dr. Jesus San Miguel say "...compared to other blood cancers, myeloma is about 10 years behind in clinical and laboratory research." That may be the reason we - medical practitioners, patients, caregivers, support group leaders - are asking the same questions that were asked when I first attended ASH many years ago and similar questions that were asked last year.
This is not to say that the life expectancy, treatment options, interest and research for looking at managing myeloma differently in the last several years hasn't increased. There are hundreds of abstracts, poster sessions and oral presentations at this year's ASH that talk about myeloma. Global collaboration seems to have increased exponentially through advocacy and organizations like IMF being able to break global barriers. Drugs in the pipelines are increasing. Buzz around the Black Swan Research InitiativeÂ® continues to grow. Friday, Onyx and IMF announced a major collaboration effort to significantly advance and accelerate BSRIÂ®.
There are several dozen #ASH13 presentations related to BSRI. Specifically around MRD-Zero (minimal residual disease-zero). In my non-medical opinion, the benefit of this type of research will enable researchers to not just compare drug outcome with other "standard of care" drugs, but, inspire them to strive for something breakthrough. I am ready for myeloma patients and families struggling to balance quality of life with survival, side effects with response, etc. to start going beyond the statistics and the numbers. I am hoping BSRI is the first step towards that individualized treatment.
Stay tuned for more in the next few days as the IMF Social Media team reports from ASH13 in New Orleans.
Sharing the Hope!
Yelak from North Texas Myeloma Support Group