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Dr. Shaji Kumar of the Mayo Clinic discusses the road to personalized myeloma treatment and three approaches we can take today before targeted treatments become a clinic reality
Dr. Shaji Kumar of the Mayo Clinic discusses the road to personalized myeloma treatment and three approaches we can take today before targeted treatments become a clinic reality image
HealthTree Podcast for Multiple Myeloma
event Sep 27, 2013 / 11:00AM MDT

Event Description

Dr. Shaji Kumar, MD Mayo Clinic Rochester

Interview date: September 27, 2013

Dr. Shaji Kumar, MD discusses the unique opportunity we have with myeloma compared to other cancers where we can detect and potentially treat early if  we can determine when and for whom early intervention (like MGUS and smoldering) is effective. He shares how we are getting closer to personalized myeloma treatment and how we can better target high-risk myeloma patients. Until we get to that type of targeted therapy, he shares the three approaches to improve care for active myeloma at the Mayo Clinic. First, better drugs with added advantages like ixazomib, an oral version of Velcade. Second, totally new classes of drugs like the monoclonal antibody, elotuzumab , a new way to stop myeloma cell division (ARRY-520), and new drugs like dinaciclib that work on the CD38 pathway to shut down myeloma's ability to communicate and replicate. Third, he describes how combinations of current therapies are being used to improve care. Finally, he shares if a large number of myeloma patients were to have their genome sequenced and reviewed in a trial, we could find and determine specific genetic mutation targets for new therapies. 

Schedule & Agenda

Dr Shaji Kumar & Jenny Ahlstrom

Speakers & Moderators

The panelist Shaji Kumar, MD
Shaji Kumar, MD

Shaji Kumar, MD, is a Professor of Medicine and a Consultant in the Division of Hematology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. His research focuses on development of novel drugs for treatment of myeloma. His research team evaluates the in vitro activity of novel drugs that, based on their mechanisms of action, are likely to have activity in the setting of myeloma. Dr. Kumar also evaluates novel combinations of different drugs to identify synergistic combinations that can result in better treatment responses and eventually better patient outcomes. His work on drug development is complemented by an active program studying the biology of myeloma, with a focus on the study of bone marrow microenvironment in multiple myeloma and how it influences the tumor cells, especially the increased bone marrow microvessels seen in myeloma. His clinical research focuses on outcomes of patients with myeloma and amyloidosis, especially high-risk disease. Dr. Kumar conducts National Institutes of Health-funded research on translation of novel therapeutic targets in multiple myeloma as well as the role of cereblon pathways in myeloma. He also receives funding from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to study the relationship between molecular profiles, treatment regimens for patients with multiple myeloma and outcomes. Additional research, funded by the National Cancer Institute, investigates the prevalence, onset and biomarkers for progression of monoclonal gammopathies. Dr. Kumar was a research associate at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the Harvard Cancer Center, a fellow at the Mayo Clinic, and received his medical degree and completed an internship and clinical residencies at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.

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The panelist Jennifer Ahlstrom
Jennifer Ahlstrom

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 the HealthTree Foundation.

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