March 1, 2009

Live Report from IMW - Day 3: Chief Medical Officer, Susan Kelley

The proceedings on Day 3 of this 4 day meeting were just as energetic as the prior two days. The general scientific sessions and abstract presentations started at 6:30 in the morning and ran through 6:30 in the evening. It is quite gratifying to see over 1,200 scientific researchers and clinicians discussing data, sharing research results and challenging each other to ensure that the most important questions to be addressed in multiple myeloma receive attention. Among the important scientific sessions today, was a presentation by the Consensus Panels of the International Myeloma Working Group. These three Consensus groups reached out to a total of over 150 experts in multiple myeloma worldwide, through a series of meetings and teleconferences. Three areas of myeloma diagnosis and treatment were addressed and three reports have been generated. The reports are available on the IMW website and will be published in a major medical journal later this year.

Guidelines for the Uniform Reporting of Clinical Trials in Myeloma: this report presents a standard approach for clinical trials to evaluate new treatments in myeloma, including standard definitions of patient populations, types of clinical data to be collected on a trial, and how to present the results of a trial, so that the findings across important trials may be interpreted consistently. View guidelines http://www.mw-delhi09.com/spargoDocs/Consensuspanelone.pdf

· Guidelines for Risk Stratification in Myeloma: The committee members stressed that, currently, to mandate definitive treatment according to cytogenetic abnormalities is premature. Additional randomized prospective studies are needed to validate the relationship of particular risk factors to treatment outcome or to assign patients with specific cytogenetic (chromosomal) abnormalities to specific treatment regimens. Instead, these guidelines provide a suggested set of risk factors that can be evaluated to help assess prognosis. View guidelines http://www.mw-delhi09.com/spargoDocs/Consensuspaneltwo.pdf

· Guidelines for Standard Investigative Work Up in Myeloma (Diagnosis and Staging): The standard procedures (laboratory and clinical tests) that should be conducted at the time of initial diagnosis and at subsequent relapse or disease progression have been agreed and outlined. View guidelines http://www.mw-delhi09.com/spargoDocs/Consensuspanelthree.pdf

In another session there was a presentation of viewpoints from myeloma experts in the US, Italy and France regarding the approaches to timing and type of bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant in myeloma. Dr. M. Cavo from Italy reminded the audience of the favorable 20-30% Complete Response rates being reported with use of the newer therapies (lenalinomide and/ or bortezimib combination therapy) in the treatment of newly diagnosed myeloma. There are important questions to be answered in upcoming studies, regarding the timing of ASCT (stem cell transplant) in patients who may derive good, durable response after 4-5 cycles of treatment with the newer treatment regimens.