An Evening of Hope Through Patient Stories and Research

Robin Tuohy |

Each year at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meetings, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) presents a program entitled “Living Well with Myeloma and the 2020 Brian D. Novis Grant Awards Reception.” 

In 1995 the IMF established the Brian D. Novis Research Grant program in memory of its co-founder. The grants are awarded annually to promote research into all areas of myeloma in an effort to improve patient outcomes. It’s exciting for all of us to look forward to the most promising projects by both senior and junior investigators in the field of multiple myeloma. Important research supported by the IMF brings us closer to finding a cure for myeloma.

To date, the IMF has funded 147 grants totaling over $8 Million Dollars!  That’s amazing!

Michael Tuohy wrote a blog on this program focusing on the Patient Stories portion. Please make sure to read that so you have a clear picture of this entire evening. We’re both thankful and proud of the patients who shared their journeys. This program brings together not only researchers, doctors, nurses, donors, and pharma partners at ASH, but the reason that they are all there:  the patients! Hearing the patient stories can help inspire our healthcare community to continue on with their good work to be a part of finding the cure!

I’d like to share two personal stories about why these Brian D. Novis Research Grants are so important. Michael and I were at ASH a few years ago attending the award program. We were surprised to see that the hem/onc fellow from our myeloma specialist’s office was receiving a Junior grant! We kept in touch with him, and he told us years later that the Grant enabled him to continue his research and encouraged him to stay in the field of myeloma! He went on to have his own lab and is now a myeloma specialist in New York!

Another story: We had the opportunity to chat with a woman who had just received a grant and were very impressed with her passion. The next year at ASH, we bumped into her, and she was presenting a Poster and excited to share that information with us.

Who knows where the next treatment will come from? To quote Dr. Robert Kyle of Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, “This is the new generation, the new blood of the people who are going to be doing the research and making the progress that is still necessary for multiple myeloma.” These are new avenues, new ideas, that may provide us with the next new treatments.

Check out this powerful video from ASH 2017 – that still holds strong and true today:

So let’s talk about the 2020 Brian D. Novis Grant Award Recipients and Donors


Sylvie Hermouet, MD, PhD – Nantes, France

  • University/Affiliation: CRCINA Inserm U1232
  • Department: Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie et Immunologie Nantes-Angers
  • Title of Project: Functional Characterizations of Monoclonal Immunoglobulins from Antigen-Driven MGUS and Myeloma
  • Funded by:  7th Annual Miracles for Myeloma 5K member event

Mikhail Nikiforov, PhD – Winston-Salem, NC, USA

  • University/Affiliation: Wake Forest University Health Sciences
  • Department: Cancer Biology
  • Title of Project: Leveraging polyamine dependency for treatment of drug-resistant multiple myelomas
  • Funded by:  Laughs 4 Life member event


Francesco Maura, MD – New York, NY, USA

  • University/Affiliation: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre
  • Department: Medicine
  • Title of Project: Deciphering the Impact of Melphalan on Secondary Malignancy in Multiple Myeloma
  • Funded by:  12th Annual Miles for Myeloma 5K member event

Kim De Vierman, PhD – Brussels, Belgium

  • University/Affiliation: Vrije Universiteit  Brussel
  • Department: Hematology and Immunology, Myeloma Center Brussels
  • Title of Project: Targeting AXL, a putative dormancy regulatory in multiple myeloma
  • Funded by: 12th Annual Miles for Myeloma 5K member event

Alexandre Detappe, PhD – Strasbourg, France

  • University/Affiliation: Centre Paul Strauss/ Universite de Strasbourg
  • Department: Medical Oncology
  • Title of Project: A “click ready” Cereblon E3 ligase modulation drug library for fast in vivo evaluation in Mutliple Myeloma mouse models
  • Funded by:  Dr. Christopher Meier-Flying Pig Marathon member event

I always leave this particular evening filled with gratitude and hope for our future.  Thanks to all involved and let’s find that Cure soon!

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