By Teresa Miceli
Rochester, MN

The 56th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, Dec. 6-9th, 2014, is just around the corner. I feel honored to again be invited by the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) to attend as part of the Support Group Leader-Nurse Liaison Program. The people attending as part of this program will be learning the “latest and greatest” myeloma updates from the experts. There is so much information provided at this meeting, and so much at the same time, it is important to have a plan of attack and to narrow down a focus.

As a group, we are going to “divide and conquer” in order to cover as much information as possible. As a blood and marrow transplant (BMT) nurse coordinator, my attention this year will be on posters and educational, scientific and oral sessions related to BMT. Are there any new insights into when is the best timing for stem cell transplant? What regimens are best used in the newly diagnosed patient eligible for transplant? Are there new drug combinations being used for “conditioning”—the high dose chemotherapy used prior to stem cell infusion? Are there any new data supporting the allogeneic (donor) transplant approach? And what about maintenance post transplant? This has been an area of controversy—what to use, how long to continue, should everyone receive post-transplant maintenance therapy? So many questions and only four days to try and find the answers.

In preparation for the meeting, I am reviewing the website. It has a listing of the educational, scientific and oral sessions. “Schedule at a Glance” is a quick way to get an overview of daily activities.

Friday, December 5th is the IMF symposium, “Critical Issues Need Answers: Providing Best Options for Myeloma Treatment in 2014.” The speakers will be: Brian Durie, MD, Cedars‐Sinai Outpatient Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Shaji Kumar, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Ola Landgren, MD, PhD, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD; Bruno Paiva, MD, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain; Antonio Palumbo, MD, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; Vincent Rajkumar, MD, Mayo Medical School, Rochester, MN. As in years past, this should prove to be an informative and dynamic symposium.

The Ham-Wasserman Lecture will be held on Saturday, December 6th. It is a core lecture for all to attend. This lecture is given by someone outside of the United States who has made a major contribution to our understanding of an area that relates to hematology. This year, the topic will be “Multiple Myeloma: A Modern Model for Scientific and Clinical Progress” and Jesus San-Miguel, MD, PhD from Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain will be the speaker. He is a fabulous speaker, a member of the IMF’s International Myeloma Working Group and is well known for his contributions to the multiple myeloma community. It will be a pleasure to learn from him and an honor to have multiple myeloma highlighted at the meeting in such a significant way.

Monday, December 8th is considered “Myeloma Monday.” This is “game on” for the simultaneous oral sessions. In 90 minutes, there will be 6 presentations (15 minutes to present information and do questions/answers) of the latest updates on myeloma-specific topics. And this is going on in multiple, neighboring lecture rooms. For example, from 7:00 to 8:00 AM, there can be three rooms dedicated to multiple myeloma: biology and pathophysiology, treatment excluding transplant, and pathophysiology and preclinical studies. That is 18 different presentations in 90 minutes! And this continues ALL DAY LONG!

I will be tweeting throughout the meeting, trying to provide real-time updates from the experts. Follow me on twitter as I provide updates from these many sessions: @IMFnurseMyeloma

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