Well, I survived the first day and half here at ASH. This is my second time to attend, and the advances in treatment have been great since my last attendance.
We have three new treatments approved in a matter of weeks: Darzalex (daratumumab), Ninalor (ixazomib), and Empliciti (elotuzumab) as well as more on the way. It is encouraging to hear the speakers debate the success of these medications alone and in combinations. The future looks brighter for MM patients.
I’m also interested in the present approach to patients with SMM. Previously, the opinion was a watch and wait; however, it is now considered that the best approach is early treatment of high- risk SMM (60% plasma cells & light chains <100) will increase the survival of these patients. Also, for now, other SMM patients can be treated in the clinical trial setting.
It is exciting and very heartening to see the large number of doctors and researchers who have devoted their careers working to help find better and less toxic treatments and eventually a cure.
We, from the IMF, are definitely a minority here as patients and caregivers, and the professionals are anxious to hear our opinions and concerns. It is also great to see some familiar faces and be recognized. I literally bumped into a doctor from the Mayo Clinic who has spoken at my support group many times, and he wanted to let me know about some abstracts that I should attend, and offered to make a presentation to our group again.
Although it is exhausting and the amount of information is overwhelming, I’m sure much will begin to fall into place as the weekend progresses.
Until then, stay well all.
Follow Anne on Twitter: @IMFsupportANNE
The North Florida Area Multiple Myeloma Support Group