February 26, 2009

MMRF Founder, CEO Kathy Giusti: Live Report from IMW

Thirteen years ago, when I was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, I was told I would live three years and would not see my daughter, then only one, start kindergarten. I attended my first International Myeloma Workshop (IMW) that same year in Boston. I was struck by the commitment and passion of the myeloma research community, but also made very aware that there were few effective treatments, minimal research investment into the disease, and an empty product pipeline.

Back then, I never would have imagined how far we have come.

  • Four lifesaving treatments approved by the FDA in four years that have helped almost double the life expectancy for some myeloma patients
  • Some of the most talented, committed people focused on myeloma, including more than 1,000 doctors, scientists and others at today’s IMW meeting
  • A research landscape that has dramatically shifted from a focus on viruses, immune therapy, and transplants, to developing novel compounds and combination approaches to effectively treat myeloma patients at all stages of the disease
  • A phenomenal pipeline of compounds that may represent the next generation of treatments

Looking back, I also never thought I would be here today, sharing incredible moments that I never dreamt I would see. It is sometimes hard to believe, but my daughter, Nicole, is now a high-school cheerleader, and my son, David, who was a month old when I spoke at my first IMW meeting, is an all-star athlete who led his team to the Little League World Series this past summer.

I am so proud that the MMRF has been part of the amazing progress that has been made in the field of myeloma and so grateful for the extraordinary support and generosity of our donors who have been there every step of the way.