By Michael Tuohy
Waterbury, CT

As a 14-year myeloma survivor, I am always very excited to learn the new trends the myeloma experts present at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. When I was diagnosed in 2000, the big new drug being discussed was Thalomid (thalidomide). We now have TWO additional immunomodulatory drugs (IMIDS) that have been approved, Revlimid (lenalidomide) and Pomalyst (pomalidomide). One of the presentations I’ll be interested in at this year’s 56th ASH Annual Meeting in San Francisco is the Stratus MM-010 Trial, a single-arm Phase 3b study evaluating pomalidomide and low dose dexamethasone (dex) in patients with refractory or relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (MM). Stay tuned for my future blogs on this one.

We’ve also been fortunate to have other categories of drugs approved too, like the proteasome inhibitors (PIs), which include Velcade (bortezomib) and Kyprolis (carfilzomib). This year, the first oral proteasome inhibitor, ixazomib, will be discussed in combination with Revlimid/dex for newly diagnosed patients, plus there is another abstract on ixazomib used as maintenance therapy. Very exciting!

I will be listening to all oral presentations so I am better able to address my Waterbury, Connecticut support group members on everything from newly diagnosed treatment options to the importance of flow-MRD (minimal residual disease) monitoring to the relapsed/refractory trials.

This year, I’m looking forward to hearing the update from the ASPIRE trial, which compares Kyprolis/Revlimid/dex with Revlimid/dex alone. Other abstracts I’m eager to hear updates on are the anti-CD38 agents daratumumab and SAR 650984 (each in combo with Rev/dex.)

We’ve learned over the years that using myeloma treatments in sequence and now especially in combinations (cocktails) attack the myeloma cells from many different angles. The questions are: which cocktails, what doses, and what is the quality of life, progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS)? Each patient’s myeloma is different, and each patient responds differently to the treatment and its side effects. Hearing the updates in all the classes of new drugs and learning as much as I can, and then sharing it with my local community is my goal so we each are able to live well with myeloma until there is a cure!

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