IMF to stage presentation on multiple myeloma at ASH annual meeting

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The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF)—supporting research and providing education, advocacy and support for myeloma patients, families, researchers and physicians—today said presentations at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) will cover all stages of multiple myeloma, a major milestone in treating this and related cancers. Studies will cover treating the disease from smoldering (early) myeloma before clinical symptoms occur, to long-term continuous therapy, and onto promising new regimens for patients who no longer respond to existing drugs. The studies will be presented at the ASH annual meeting, December 5 through 8 in New Orleans.

“In recent years we have seen the life expectancy of many patients doubled with the novel therapies, REVLIMID®, VELCADE® and THALOMID®, and now the next generation of drugs under development, including pomalidomide and carfilzomib, gives us an opportunity to extend survival even further,” said Susie Novis, president and co-founder of the IMF. “We are seeing the novel therapies and combinations of all of these drugs evaluated in every possible setting: newly diagnosed, long-term care with and without stem cell transplants, elderly and younger patients. We look forward to promising presentations at ASH that point to the possibility of helping patients live longer and live better.”

Among the areas highlighted by the IMF:

  • Treating patients before they show any symptoms is controversial, but from Spain a study of REVLIMID in what’s called smoldering myeloma is an important first step toward reconsidering how patients are treated at the earliest stages of this cancer. (abstract #614)
  • At the other end of the myeloma continuum, studies are expected to show promising results with continuous REVLIMID treatment through to disease progression, and maintenance therapies using VELCADE, and VELCADE with THALOMID in various patient populations. (#3, #128, #613)
  • For patients who have run out of options there will be studies of the newest drugs in the development pipeline including pomalidomide, carfilzomib and vorinostat. The results are expected to show patients will respond to drugs such as pomalidomide even when they no longer respond to other drugs in the same class. (#301-#306, #429, #430)

Brian G.M. Durie, M.D., chairman and co-founder of the IMF said, “We have come a long way in treating multiple myeloma, but a study from the IMF’s International Myeloma Working Group looks at what happens when patients no longer respond to the available treatments. This makes a powerful case for continuing innovation in treatment development, while it gives us a benchmark we can use to evaluate new drugs as they come along.” (#2878)

Other highlights at ASH include:

Multiple myeloma setting the stage for new treatments for a range of cancers: REVLIMID, developed for use in myeloma and also approved for use in myelodysplastic syndromes or MDS, is now the subject of Phase III studies in a variety of cancers including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and pivotal studies in mantle cell lymphoma. (#206, #944, #1676, #1679) Likewise VELCADE is approved in mantle cell lymphoma and is also the subject of Phase II studies in follicular lymphoma that will be presented at ASH. (#933, #1661)

Scientific underpinnings of side effects and predicting outcome from the International Myeloma Working Group and the IMF gene back, Bank On A Cure®: One of the studies suggests a combination of chromosome abnormalities coupled with stage of the disease is a better predictor of outcome when evaluated together than either factor alone. (#743) A second study finds specific genetic changes may be responsible for side effects of treatment such as neuropathy, making it possible to build a data base that anticipates adverse events. (#1800)

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affects production of blood cells and can damage bone. Myeloma affects an estimated 750,000 people worldwide, and in industrialized countries it is being diagnosed in growing numbers and in increasingly younger people.

 

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