North Hollywood, CA, and New Orleans, LA – December 5, 2013 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – today said studies at this year’s ASH hematology-oncology conference may change treatment protocols for myeloma patients. The findings are to be presented at the 55th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in New Orleans, December 7th through 10th. More than 20,000 blood disease specialists from around the world are expected to attend.

“Taken together, we may see earlier treatments, longer treatments and smarter treatments become the standard of care for myeloma patients,” said Brian G.M. Durie, M.D., Chairman and Co-founder of the IMF. “We’re also going to see positive results from treating high-risk smoldering myeloma even before symptoms occur, and combinations that reduce MRD, minimal residual disease, a key factor in our Black Swan Research Initiative® to find a cure.”

“At past conferences we’ve talked about progress in terms of longer remissions. Now the IMF is actually working toward a cure through our Black Swan Research Initiative,” said Susie Novis, President and Co-founder of the IMF. “The IMF will be hosting several educational events at ASH and two webcasts for people who cannot get to New Orleans in person. We remain committed to supporting myeloma patients in the United States and around the world – through research, education and advocacy.”

Highlights of research to be presented during ASH, according to the IMF, include news about the following areas:

Continuous Treatment

Abstract #2, to be presented at the plenary session, is a complex three-arm study that makes two points. First, this study demonstrates the benefit of REVLIMID® (lenalidomide) for ongoing continuous therapy as opposed to treating for a fixed time period and then stopping, which has been the standard of care.

Second, the study shows that a two-drug regimen (REVLIMID/ low-dose dexamethasone) is better than the three-drug treatment (melphalan/prednisone/thalidomide) and eliminates the need for melphalan – a harsh alkylating agent that requires monitoring, and may be responsible for the secondary primary malignancies (SPMs) that have been reported.

Cumulative Dosing

Abstract #1968 examines data from the completed VISTA trial and concludes that a higher cumulative dose of VELCADE® (bortezomib) results in improved overall survival (OS). The study says a less intensive regimen reduces side effects to permit treatment for a longer period of time. The IMF notes the VELCADE regimen has become much better tolerated with subcutaneous administration instead of intravenous infusion.

Newest Approved Therapeutics

Several studies of KYPROLIS® (carfilzomib) combinations show response rates are high and deep, and prolonged benefit is achieved. (Abstracts 538, 1939, 3220 and 685)

Several abstracts confirm the efficacy of POMALYST® (IMNOVID® in Europe) (pomalidomide) in the relapsed/refractory setting. It is especially encouraging in heavily pre-treated patients and those with high-risk genetic features. (Abstracts (408, 686, 689, 1979, 3185, 3191, and 3198)

Abstract 690 shows the benefits of KYPROLIS and POMALYST together.

Pipeline Drugs

Watch for early-but-promising studies of monoclonal antibodies, HDAC inhibitors (epigenetic drugs), and a new oral proteasome inhibitor, MLN 9708, from the makers of VELCADE.

Dr. Durie added, “Some of these studies may also set the stage for U.S. and global approvals of first-line and other uses of myeloma treatments to bring regulatory standards in line with best clinical practices. This is especially encouraging for patients in Europe and elsewhere where drugs are not reimbursed without regulatory approvals.”

Prior to the start of ASH, the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative leadership team will meet to update its work to develop a pathway toward finding a definitive cure. Topics discussed will include the use of minimal residual disease as a measure of efficacy in clinical trials, and an update on the use of specialized flow cytometry to detect even minute levels of MRD.

And once again this year, the IMF will field a team of more than a dozen myeloma patient and caregiver representatives to attend the ASH presentations first-hand and report back to their colleagues from a patient’s perspective.


“Patients Pursuing Passions” Media Reception & Research Grant Awards

Myeloma patients will talk about how they are living their lives with better treatments, and how the IMF connects them to each other and to the information they need to make informed treatment decisions.

Funded through generous donations from private individuals, the IMF’s annual grant awards enable investigators to become established in the field of myeloma. IMF-funded research has led to many publications in peer-reviewed journals and to a greater understanding of myeloma.

Saturday, December 7, 7 PM CST
Antoine’s Restaurant, 713 Rue St., New Orleans

“Pathway to a Cure,” The International Myeloma Foundation Journalists’ Workshop

Leading myeloma experts Dr. Brian Durie, Dr. Joseph Mikhael, and Dr. María-Victoria Mateos will discuss the impact of the latest treatment paradigms coming out of ASH in a webcast panel presentation. In addition, a member of the IMF Nurse Leadership Board will discuss how patients respond to the data; several long-term survivors will talk about their treatments; and a guest from the Israeli myeloma advocacy group will talk about gaining global approvals for the latest therapeutics.

Sunday, December 8, 8:30 – 10 PM CST
Webcast live and archived at

“Making Sense of Treatment,” The International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Conference Series

Leading myeloma experts Dr. Brian Durie, Dr. Joseph Mikhael, Dr. Ola Landgren and Dr. Antonio Palumbo will tackle the key questions currently facing myeloma doctors and patients in light of the latest study results presented at ASH.

Monday, December 9, 8 – 9:30 PM CST
Webcast live and archived at

Celebrating its 23rd anniversary, the International Myeloma Foundation reaches more than 240,000 members in 120 countries worldwide. A 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients and their families, the IMF focuses on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. To date, the IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is

Debra Gendel
Initiate PR

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