The Friday symposiums preceding this year’s American Society of Hematology annual meeting featured a series of educational presentations by top myeloma specialists. With so many amazing presentations on one day, it was difficult to decide which sessions to sign up for.
I focused on treatment options for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients. Here are highlights from the ”A Is for Antibody” symposium:
Multiple myeloma is very different from individual to individual. The number of drugs available now for treating myeloma makes it difficult to know which combination provides the best results. As patients, it is important to understand the many available treatment options and which works best for our unique situation. This is especially important for individuals newly diagnosed with myeloma.
Dr. Suzanne Lentzsch, Columbia University Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center started the session by discussing how antibodies are changing the care of both transplant-eligible and transplant-ineligible patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.
- Three drug regimens, an immunomodulating agent (Revlimid), a proteasome inhibitor (Velcade), in combination with a steroid (dexamethasone) is standard induction therapy for most patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. Adding daratumumab, a CD38 monoclonal antibody to RVd therapy shows encouraging results. An update on the GRIFFIN study which studied use of Dara+RVd with individuals newly diagnosed with myeloma will be provided at ASH- stay tuned for more details on the progress of that study.
- Dr. Lentzsch discussed findings from the GRIFFIN and MAIA studies. Both studies supported the frontline use of daratumumab for select transplant-eligible and transplant-ineligible patients Both studies note a decreased risk of disease progression with the addition of daratumumab.
The segment concluded with a video clip from Robert, a patient (and Myeloma Coach) who recently replaced the traditional Revlimid, Velcade, dexamethasone (RVd) induction regimen with daratumumab, due to side effects experienced with RVd. Robert tells the story best. He shared, “the new regimen is a totally different ball game”. He went on to say that his quality of life was greatly improved. The personal testimony of a patient’s experience is so valuable and meaningful. Thank you, Robert, for sharing your story.
Everyone with myeloma is different. The increased number of treatment options makes it difficult to decide what is best for you personally. If you are overwhelmed by the options and trying to decide what is right for you, consider joining HealthTree Cub Hub. This will allow you to see recommended treatment options from myeloma specialists just for you.
After you complete your profile, and enter your information (diagnosis, treatment history, labs, genetics and general health) you will see a personalized, generated list of treatment options from 25 myeloma specialists There is also an individualized list of all open clinical trials you would be eligible to join. This information can be printed out and you can take it with you to your appointments to have an informed conversation with your oncologist to better understand why he/she is suggesting a particular therapy.
Jenn volunteers her time as a Myeloma Coach. She shares her personal experience with myeloma, and helps empower others with myeloma to seek out and receive the right care at the right time. Her knowledge, insight and experience has helped many.
about the author
Jenn has been a HealthTree Myeloma Coach since 2018. While in rough shape after being diagnosed in 2012, along with an auto and allo transplant, she has been able to find successful treatments for her myeloma. After ten years as a patient, Jennifer has learned “it’s key to stay focused on the positive aspects of life” and, surprisingly, “I’ve met some remarkable people along the way.” She counsels others to give their mind a break from doctor's appointments, lab tests and all things related to myeloma. To do this, she enjoys hobbies such as cooking, easy DIY projects reading, and spending time with her family and friends.