BY GARY PETERSEN
Dr. Gareth Morgan, the new Director of the Myeloma Program at UAMS Little Rock, was the featured speaker at the November 18th Cure Panel Broadcast and explained the Total Therapy approach to treatment and the science behind it. UAMS is one of the premiere and world class Myeloma programs internationally and has data showing they can cure 60% of low-risk patients.
What you soon recognize once you do some research is that Dr. Morgan is not just any doctor. He was the head of the Myeloma Program at the largest comprehensive cancer institute in all of Europe (his bio follows), he is the Director of the Myeloma UK which is like our IMF, is internationally known and respected, and lived in one of the most cultured and beautiful cities in the world (London). So what could possibly tear him away from such a remarkable existence, uproot himself and move to Little Rock, AK, to a program which has been such a historic HOT TOPIC, both praised and loved by patients and doctors, yet harshly criticized and questioned as well?
What you find out is Dr. Morgan is all about the patient; the patient experience, and improving outcomes. And when I asked him what drew him to UAMS he responded by saying "I feel I made the right decision!" and for the following reasons.
Dr. Morgan goes on to explain myeloma biology, the success of the Total Therapy program, and the UAMS survival measurement accuracy.
Within Myeloma there is more than one cancer cell or one clone. Cells have different behavior and are not homogenous. The challenge for cure is to kill every myeloma cell so there are none left to relapse. This is how the More Can Cure comes into play. He would not use the term " More Can Cure" but believes a combination of drugs with different therapeutic actions kills more of these cells and therefore cure more patients. Also, that with time, the program will phase to more targeted individualized therapy and depend less on high-dose chemotherapy and use more of the monoclonal antibodies and immunotherapies to achieve cure. However, the current program has been so successful with an average life expectancy exceeding 15 years, they will not do away with what works until they are sure of the success of the new combinations. He looks to improve the cure rate by adding monoclonal antibodies to the front line treatment with an eye to eliminating one of the transplants without reducing the cure rate. He coined the term "TTT" or Total Targeted Therapy.
Other takeaways from Dr. Morgan's presentations include:
Several of the Cure Panel myeloma patient hosts had excellent questions for Dr. Morgan:
Other topics he covered include:
Good luck and may God Bless your Cancer Journey. For more information on multiple myeloma survival rates and treatments CLICK HERE and you can follow me on twitter at: https://twitter.com/grpetersen1
Gareth Morgan, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRCPath
Dr. Gareth Morgan is professor of medicine and pathology and director of the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He is also the deputy director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at UAMS. He is an internationally recognized scientist and clinician in the field of the molecular genetics in blood cell cancers, in particular, multiple myeloma. He came to UAMS from The Royal Marsden Institute NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Cancer Research in London, Europe’s largest comprehensive cancer institute, where he was a professor of hematology and director of the Centre for Myeloma Research.
Dr. Morgan received his doctorate on the genetics of leukemia from the University of London in 1991 and his MD in 1981 from the Welsh National School of Medicine. He is a director of Myeloma UK, a respected UK patient organization, as well as a member of the Scientific Board of the International Myeloma Foundation. He is the founding director of the European Myeloma Network.
Dr. Morgan is doing influential work in characterizing the myeloma genome, defining specific subsets of the disease that have prognostic importance, and developing personalized therapeutic strategies targeted to each subtype. He also is engaged in advanced research in molecular diagnostics, drug development and clinical trials. Dr. Morgan has authored more than 450 articles appearing in leading peer-reviewed journals, including New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Leukemia, Lancet-Oncology, and Clinical Cancer Research.
He is a member of the British Society of Haematology, the American Society of Hematology, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Royal College of Physicians, UK, and the Royal College of Pathologists, UK.
about the author
Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of HealthTree Foundation (formerly Myeloma Crowd).