The room was overflowing with more than 1,000 medical professionals from around the world who have come to the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Meeting and Exposition to learn the latest developments and how they can use them to benefit their patients back home. The first day in Orlando kicked off with a pre-conference Symposium moderated by Dr. Brian G.M. Durie, IMF Chairman and Co-Founder. The symposium’s panel consisted of five internationally-renowned myeloma researchers who debated four issues faced by practicing hematologists.
With the recent approval of 2 monoclonal antibodies Darzalex (daratumumab) and Empliciti (elotuzumab), and the first ever oral proteasome inhibitor, Ninlaro (ixazomib), one of point-counterpoint discussions focused on how quickly these new agents should be used in the upfront, or induction, phase of treatment. The consensus was that Phase 3 trials are needed; however, Dr. Shaji Kumar of the Mayo Clinic said the time for the use of these agents for high-risk patients is now. He noted that the first intervention provides the best opportunity for the deepest response. His benefit-risks analysis was that the chance for positive results outweighed the downside of no response—which he felt— in the worst case scenario, would likely not cause any harm. Dr. Philippe Moreau of the University Hospital of Nantes, France, was a bit more cautious in his current approach of the use of these newly approved agents.
ASH will be filled with many debates of this type as the number of treatment choices continues to grow for myeloma patients. Myeloma is quickly moving beyond a “one-size fits all” treatment approach. This is such a promising time for patients, but along with it comes more patient responsibility to be educated advocates for ourselves! Take advantage of the IMF’s ASH coverage to learn about the hottest topics that you might want to discuss with your hematologist. Access a replay of today’s event and much more coverage to come throughout the weekend, right here, at the IMF at ASH 2015 Web site.
Excited about our continuous forward momentum!
Follow Linda on Twitter: @IMFlindaMYELOMA
Chattanooga Multiple Myeloma Networking Group