May 7, 2011

Updates from Day 4 at IMW, Sandra Wear

The final day of this international meeting began with a comprehensive review of the latest International Myeloma Working Group consensus on criteria for diagnosis and treatment and retreatment of patients with multiple myeloma. In addition to discussing the importance of utilizing correct diagnostics, there were key discussions concerning the management of anemia, bone disease, vein thrombosis and the use of vaccination and infection prophylaxis.

Several abstracts of note were presented during the final plenary session, including:

  • An Italian clinical trial that one compared the use of aspirin to low molecular weight heparin (enoxaparin) to prevent deep vein thrombosis in myeloma patients receiving Revlimid-based treatments, and found that both were similar in effectiveness.
  • A Phase 3 trial from researchers in Sweden looked at the use of Velcade for consolidation after high dose melphalan and found that it appeared to prolong disease remission post stem cell transplant.
  • Updated data from the MMRC-facilitated Phase 1 and 2 pomalidomide trial were presented by Dr. Paul Richardson; the data continue to show the promise of pomalidomide in working in some patients who are refractory to both Velcade and Revlimid.
  • Updated data from the MMRC-facilitated Phase 2 carfilzomib trial, looking at heavily pre-treated patients, were presented by Dr. David Siegel. These encouraging results, showing efficacy in patients who had failed Velcade, could form the basis for an accelerated approval from the FDA in 2012.
  • The final talk given by Dr. E. Libby on the declining rates of mortality in both the young and elderly. For the young, we saw an earlier decrease in mortality (starting in 1995) with the introduction of high dose chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplant. However, this was not a treatment prescribed for those over the age of 65 because of the higher risk this posed for the population. The real shift for young and old started with the introduction of Thalomid. Once other new compounds like Velcade and Revlimid came to market, the decrease in mortality has been essentially equalized with lives being substantially prolonged regardless of one’s age.

On this last day, it was wonderful to see our very own Sara Tyghter address the Congress on behalf of the MMRF and MMRC. She graciously thanked the meeting organizers, physicians, nurses and most importantly the patients who make research possible by participating in clinical trials of high importance. Following this, there was a presentation by Dr. Kaz Shimizu who was setting the stage for the IMW Meeting in 2013 which will be held in Kyoto, Japan. In two years, so much can happen and so the excitement is already building for this meeting two years from now!