June 5, 2010

MMRC Reporting from American Society of Oncology Meeting (ASCO), Chicago, IL, Susan Kelley, MD

Friday, June 4 marked the opening day of the Amercian Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, IL. The meeting is the largest gathering of oncology clinicians and researchers in the world and convenes in June each year. Approximately 33,000 attendees are expected. MMRF and MMRC staff are present at these meetings to attend scientific presentations on clinical studies conducted in myeloma and to interact with our academic, clinical research and pharmaceutical industry colleagues about ongoing or planned collaborations to advance the field of myeloma treatment. During the course of the congress, from Friday through Tuesday, there will be presentations of recent clinical trial results in myeloma studies, with updates on the development progress of several new drugs that hold promise for myeloma.

On Friday, the MMRC gathered together myeloma physicians from 11 of our 13 member institutions for a full day of intense and energized discussions about the MMRC activities, ongoing MMRC clinical trials, new trends in myeloma research and how MMRF and MMRC can continue to lead the way in advancing myeloma research progress. The key activities of the MMRC, including our clinical trials portfolio, our tissue banking and genomics initiative and our future plans were discussed in detail with our clinical research collaborators from our Consortium member institutions. Clinical studies ongoing within the Consortium were reviewed, and plans for additional clinical studies to be started with pharmaceutical collaborators in 2010 were finalized. We worked closely with our member institution partners to strategize about MMRC activites and further plans for investment of MMRF and MMRC resources to bring personalized medicine treatment approaches to the clinic for patients with myeloma.

At the ASCO congress on Friday, there were presentations of data documenting progress and encouraging results in early phase I-II clinical trials with several new drugs in myeloma, including combinations of new, emerging drug candidates with existing cornerstone drugs like Velcade® (bortezomib) and Revlimid® (lenalidomide). Presentations of research on the role of particular gene abnormalities in predicting outcome for patients treated with particular drugs lets us know that, similar to the overall theme of the ASCO congress, we in the myeloma research community are more intensely focused than ever on the effots to personalize or tailor therapy to optimize patient outcome.

Finally, capping a busy but exciting day, on Friday evening the MMRF sponsored a successful and interactive Continuing Medical Education symposium for physicians, entitled ‘Current Controversies in Myeloma Management: A Case- Based Management Assessment”. Attendees heard presentations on the expanding treatment options for patients with myeloma and how experts in the field recommend that current knowledge be applied to optimize results of treatment at all stages of the disease. The audience included hematologist- oncologists, and other health care professionals involved in the care of patients with MM. The faculty consisted of leading experts in MM treatment from around the world, including several of our MMRC member physicians. The discussions were moderated by Ken Anderson, MD of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Jean-Luc Harousseau, MD of French National Cancer Institute, Sagar Lonial, MD of Emory University, Paul Richardson of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Jesus San Miguel, MD, PhD of University of Salamanca.

We look forward to exciting presentations of data and discussions with our collaborators over the next several busy days here in Chicago and we will post updates about highlights of the meetings. Stay tuned….