It is hard to know where to begin in describing this experience at the 61st ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition (ASH). The convention center is a maze of halls, meeting rooms, people, and displays. It is certainly overwhelming, in the vastness and the amount of information and research that is being presented. The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) had a live satellite symposium discussing “Approaches To Achieve the Best Possible Outcomes in Myeloma.” If you didn’t watch it live, you can watch it here: https://www.myeloma.org/IMF-ASH-Orlando.
Saturday morning began bright and early. A few of our group were included in the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) breakfast. There were approximately 200 doctors in attendance. It was the Who’s Who of Myeloma specialists. A common theme in the studies that were presented: triplet/quadruplet drug combinations get better responses than single- or double-drug combinations. The IMWG has guidelines for many aspects of myeloma treatment. Their guidelines for the management of renal impairment in myeloma have not been updated in many years. A first draft should be ready soon. As a patient with renal impairment, I look forward to seeing the updated guidelines.
During the day, we attended presentations in the large conference halls. Giant screens and thousands of chairs. It looked a bit like a rock concert would be taking place. But the rock stars are the doctors and researchers who are looking for the best treatments for us now, while they continue to search for a cure. In the evening, we were fortunate to meet other rock stars. Some of them are patients who came to tell their stories of “Living Well with Myeloma.” Other stars are the recipients of the Brian D. Novis Grant for research. But the biggest stars of the night are the patients and their families who have held fundraising events each year to fund these grants. And it is special to be able to bring them together and honor them all.