What a Saturday!

| Robin Tuohy

Today, the 15 Support Group Leaders attending ASH with the IMF, were up at the crack of dawn—actually pre-dawn!  We were on the 5:45 am shuttle with a long and exciting day ahead of us.

First stop:  We had a bird’s eye view (literally, see photo) of the IMF’s International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) meeting.  Dr. Durie welcomed everyone to the standing room only program.  I was thrilled to hear that there are now over 200 members of the IMWG.  Many updates were reported on papers, from geriatric assessments to Dr. Durie’s very exciting SWOG SO777 clinical trial update (which he would present later in the day.)


Velcade, Revlimid, dex (VRd) vs Revlimid, dex (Rd) in patients with previously untreated myeloma without an intent for immediate Autologous Stem Cell Transplant (ASCT).

Here’s the good news:

  • VRd with continuous Rd maintenance significantly improves Progression Free Survival (PFS) and Overall Survival (OS) vs Rd alone with ongoing maintenance:
    • PFS = 43 v 30 months
    • OS = 75 v 64 months
  • Both regimens are safe, but with significantly greater grade 3 neuropathy and GI adverse events with VRd
  • VRd induction followed by continuous Rd is a potential new standard of care

Hearing this was a great way to start the day!

Next stops included numerous oral clinical trial data, a Scientific Program nicely titled “Path Toward Curing Multiple Myeloma.”  This program was comprised of three individual presentations.  One was on “Characterization of Minimal Residual Disease” by Dr. Alberto Orfao (University of Salamanca, Spain).  MRD has been discussed numerous times throughout ASH this year.  There are many advantages to Next Generation Flow cytometry (NGF):

  • Fast (within 3-4 hours)
  • Highly standardized
  • Accurate quantitation
  • Increased sensitivity
  • Ready for IVD development

I found the following statement interesting and an accurate update on what we now know about myeloma:

Multiple Myeloma (circa 1900):

  • Multiple tumors throughout the long bones characterized by the presence of plasma cells

Multiple Myeloma (s) (2015)

  • Multiple distinct genetic entities resulting in the clonal expansion of plasma cells in multiple locations throughout the long bones of the body.

I don’t want to duplicate other leader’s blogs, so I will refer you to read all the leaders blogs , and in particular, if you would like to read more about Eloquent 2 Update trial and daratumumab trial, please read Michael Tuohy’s blog (yes, my husband!).

We ended our day with one of my favorite evenings of ASH, the night the IMF presents their Junior and Senior Grant awards, plus a highlight of four patient stories. The IMF established annual grants to promote research into better treatments, management, prevention and a cure. These grants are made possible through donations from private individuals and are awarded annually to doctors and researchers doing work in the field of myeloma.

The evening is a full circle encompassing the patients, pharma, researchers, myeloma doctors and nurses.  I’m sure one of our support group leaders will provide a full blog reporting on this inspirational evening.

As I wrap up this blog, it’s close to midnight.  A long but inspiring day for sure!

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

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