‘Tis The Season – Heme, Heme, Heme

Teresa Miceli |
Teresa Miceli on American Society of Hematology background

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting will take place Dec. 7 through Dec. 10 in Orlando, Florida. For many, this time of year is the high point of the holiday season. We give thanks for our blessings, share gifts with our friends and family, and celebrate all of the promise that a New Year brings. For me, attending the ASH meeting parallels this sentiment. I am thankful to attend the meeting with the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) and with an amazing group of Support Group Leaders (SGLs); the time and dedication invested by the medical professionals provides the gift of life; and the information shared at this meeting will provide hope and healing to so many in the new year. 

IMF Chairman Dr. Brian G.M. Durie (@BrianDurieMD) provides his list of abstracts to watch at the meeting, “ASH Top 10 for 2019: Immune therapies again dominate the news.”

These abstracts focus on myeloma research from the bone marrow microenvironment to imaging in multiple myeloma to potential new therapies like CAR-T and Venetoclax. In addition to these pearls of information, I will be looking for information on auto stem cell transplant  (#ASCT), Quality of life (#QOL), and updates on treating Smoldering multiple myeloma (#SMM) to prevent active multiple myeloma and end organ damage. 

Previously, I was a bit skeptical about focusing on treating SMM – subjecting a person to chemotherapy for an undetermined period of time before there was active disease.  In actuality, if a person has SMM, they do have disease activity, just not end organ damage.  And like our oncology partners who recommend screening for breast and colon cancer in order to pre-empt invasive, metastatic disease, the idea of a pre-emptive attack on bone and renal disease in multiple myeloma sounds favorable.  Having met so many multiple myeloma survivors whose #QOL is disrupted by skeletal issues, or need for dialysis, this focus seems ever more important.  To be clear, not all people with SMM will require treatment, but to better understand who are those people with SMM at highest risk for evolution to active disease and how to prevent progression are very worthy places to focus research. 

In addition to therapy-related abstracts, here are a few of the oral and poster abstracts from the ASH app that have caught my eye:

Paper No: 62 Vinita Dhir, BSc, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. “Quality of Life and Caregiver Burden in Patients and Their Caregivers Undergoing Outpatient Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation Compared to Inpatient Transplantation”

Paper No: 64 Erlene K. Seymour, MD, Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University. “High Dependence on Medicare and Foundation Grant Assistance Among Patients with Hematologic Malignancies Receiving Novel Oral Therapeutics”

Paper No: 72 Moritz Binder, MD,MPH, Mayo Clinic. “Mortality of Patients with Multiple Myeloma after the Introduction of Novel Therapies in the United States”

Paper No: 383 Martin W. Schoen, MD,MPH, St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “Outcomes in Multiple Myeloma Based on Comorbidities and Race”

Paper No: 412 Andrew J. Cowan, MD, University of Washington. “The Global State of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Multiple Myeloma: An Analysis of the Worldwide Network of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (WBMT) Database and the Global Burden of Disease Study”

Paper No: 424 Gayathri Ravi, MD, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. “Stem Cell Transplant Minimizes Insurance Coverage-Driven Outcomes Disparities for Multiple Myeloma Patients”

Paper No: 794 Surbhi Sidana, MD, Mayo Clinic. “Patient Experience of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cell Therapy Vs. Stem Cell Transplant: Longitudinal Patient Reported Adverse Events, Cognition and Quality of Life”

Paper No: 3066 Shaji K. Kumar, MD, Mayo Clinic. “Outcomes of Patients with t(11;14) Multiple Myeloma: An International Myeloma Working Group Multicenter Study”

So as we move into the ASH Season, follow the IMF SGL blogs and Tweets (just like you would Santa’s sleigh) for the gift of knowledge and ASH Highlights.  These SGLs, who many are patients actively receiving treatment, will be spending endless days and long evenings gathering these pearls and sharing them on social media. 

Follow the IMF SGLs on Twitter for real-time #ASH19 updates:

Jack Aiello @JackMAiello

Yelak Biru @northtxmsg

Sheri Baker @blondie1746

Cindy Chmielewski (Tweety Bird!) @myelomateacher

Dr. John DeFlice @Johnde1Myeloma

Linda Huguelet @LindaMyeloma

Dr. Jim Omel @IMFjimMyeloma

Valarie Traynham @myelomavalarie

Michael Tuohy @IMFMikeMyeloma

Robin Tuohy @IMFsupport

Tiffany Williams @myelomahope

Teresa Miceli @IMFnurseMyeloma

Follow these Twitter hashtag:

#ASH19 #mmsm #IMFASH19 #myeloma

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