By Tom Swick
Orange County, CA

San Francisco. A city where you would have no problem finding a restaurant serving lobster on Thanksgiving day, unlike the 34 cities in Orange County that I represent. If the 56th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition were held a week earlier, I would’ve brought my whole pescetarian family. Or is it pescapalian? I always confuse the two.

Fortunately, I never confuse dexamethasone and doxorubicin, so the IMF is allowing me to focus my blog on myeloma drugs, particularly new ones in the pipeline. The last revolution in myeloma treatment began more than ten years ago, with the introduction of the first immunomodulatory agent, Thalomid (thalidomide), and the first proteasome inhibitor, Velcade (bortezomib). Since then, progress has been largely limited to new generations of drugs in those same classes – Revlimid (lenalidomide), Kyprolis (carfilzomib), Pomalyst (pomalidomide), Velcade SQ, etc. – and new combinations of these novel agents. Now, we are once again on the cusp of a revolution, with whole new classes of drugs (monoclonal antibodies, anti-CD38 antibodies, KSP inhibitors, etc.) represented in clinical trials and nearing approval.

Meanwhile, genetic research is moving toward the goal of targeting particular drugs to patients with specific types of myeloma. In addition, the progress made via the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative® to increase precision in measuring minimal residual disease (MRD) will accelerate the process. This is certainly a promising time for all of us patients.

Now, my pescetarian daughter Shannon is a senior at San Francisco State University. Her birthday falls during the exposition, and we will celebrate a couple of days early, when I arrive. I’m going to San Francisco. Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

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