From the sidelines of the IMWG breakfast and the Cancer Research Center of Spain’s presentation

| Hugh Schaffer

Today was an exciting day for me!  The pleasure of being invited to the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) breakfast and hearing Dr. Durie’s Highlights of his American Society of Hematology (ASH) presentation added to the excitement. I was impressed by the congeniality of these men and women as several others shared highlights of their abstracts.

Presentations of oral abstracts provided an insight to the excitement surrounding one of the Federal Drug Administration’s announcement approving Darzalex (daratumumab) just a few short weeks ago. The strong and deep response in clinical trials has provided much hope. This is a CD38 directed monoclonal antibody for patients who received at least three prior lines of therapy, including a proteasome inhibitor—a very exciting presentation!

Path toward a Cure in the Scientific Program presented by the Cancer Research Center in Spain shared the need to accurately assess minimal residual disease (MRD) inside the bone marrow. The life cycle of cells was most interesting—telling the story of how cells change as they replicate and become smoldering myeloma. The need to standardize MRD, and make it even more sensitive was shared.  We are so close in creating a more detailed assay detecting MRD.

So, how will I use all this information in future support group meetings?  I am thinking of the patients, caregivers, and family members.  What will they be willing to hear and process?  Those concerns tend to take care of themselves as people learn at their own pace. But I think a general overview would be a good start, and then directing those who need more detailed information to the International Myeloma Foundation’s (IMF) website for replaying the full webcasts of seminars.  The story of hope continues.

I want to thank the IMF for the invitation to come to ASH this year. I have learned about the wonderful collaboration that is happening worldwide. Thank you for allowing me to be a witness to these exciting days.

Follow Hugh on Twitter: @IMFhughMYELOMA
The Cincinnati Area Multiple Myeloma Support Group
Cincinnati, OH

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