Rise & Shine!

| Robin Tuohy

Rise and Shine Everyone! We begin each day with smiles on our faces and comfortable shoes on our feet as we head out to the Orange County Convention Center for another day at ASH.


International Myeloma Foundation Support Group Leaders heading to ASH early morning December 6th


Today, we went right from the early morning shuttle to a repeat of an Education Session we missed on Saturday (so many simultaneous presentations, we were very happy that the Education Session was repeated!) Next, oral presentations, then a quick working breakfast, and then right back to simultaneous oral presentations!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Education Session, titled “Multiple Advances in Multiple Myeloma” with Dr. Vincent Rajkumar (Mayo Clinic Rochester), Dr. Thierry Facon (Hopital Claude Huriez, CHRU Lille, France), Dr. Sagar Lonial (Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, GA).

Dr. Rajkumar spoke passionately on the smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) paradigm shift: Newly diagnosed patients are now stratified into high-risk smoldering or low-risk smoldering MM. For low-risk MM patients, it is still watch and wait. However, for high-risk, the options are the following: Clinical trials or observation every 3 months; or for evolving, or multiple high-risk factors, the advice is to consider MM therapy.


The Smoldering Multiple Myeloma (SMM) Paradigm Shift.  Photo Credit: Dr. Vincent Rajkumar


Dr. Thierry Facon spoke on Maintenance Therapy for Myeloma and had a beautiful slide showing 246 studies listed for multiple myeloma maintenance. That’s fantastic as we need more information on maintenance. He also had a slide showing patients with long-term disease control have a unique immune signature. My take- aways from this presentation include the following:

  • Increasing evidence supports the use of prolonged/continuous therapy in patients with newly diagnosed myeloma.
  • Data from randomized trials support the use of maintenance after ASCT; but ongoing studies will provide more insight into the optimal regimen, schedule and duration of maintenance therapy. Consolidation will also likely be an option.
  • In elderly patients, continuous therapy until PD with the alkylator-free Revilmid®/dexamethasone regimen represents a paradigm change that will influence the standard approach to patient management.
  • Close-monitoring of patients on continuous therapy is important.
  • The question of minimal residual disease (MRD) and/or immune cell populations may help predict long-term outcomes and inform duration of therapy deserves to be evaluated.

Next up was Dr. Lonial animatedly speaking about recent approvals. My favorite slide wrapped up his excitement perfectly:

  • A Year of Success!
    • 4 new drugs approved in the last 12 months.
    • 3 drugs approved in 3 weeks.
    • Now the challenge is to take the pieces and put them together in a coherent fashion.

For this blog, I’m going through all of my notes and selecting my favorite quotes of the day to give you an general feel of an over 12 hour day filled with updates and hope for our futures.

  • New Agents = New Hope for Patients
  • 3 is Clearly better than 2 in Early Relapse
  • Ixazomib in Relapse with or without Rd IMID/PI Combination Wins Again
  • Combinations need to be rationally designed and should enhance response not at the expense of toxicity
  • IMID/PI combination is the new standard

I’ll end this mid-day Monday report with a suggestion to read one of the blogs on “Social Media for the Hematologist.” It was a fun and interactive session— first one ever at ASH! As a matter of fact, the hashtag #ASH15 was trending worldwide! Watch out @jimmyfallon!

Now it’s time to go back to the convention center for more afternoon sessions!

01_Education Session

Support Group Leader Cindy Chmielewski on the “Social Media for Hematologist” panel

by Robin Tuohy

Follow Robin on Twitter: @IMFsupport
Connecticut Multiple Myeloma Fighters Information Group
Waterbury, CT

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