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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More on ASH Annual Meeting

Heather and me
A ray of sunshine in my weekly visits to DFCI is my infusion nurse, Heather.  Tuesday is the busiest day at the Yawkey 7 Infusion Center, but Heather is always there with her engaging personality and upbeat attitude.  She takes the time to offer encouragement and support, and despite her busy schedule, she usually stays for a few minutes of chit chat instead of rushing off to her next appointment. Heather is another example of the wonderful staff I have had the good fortune to meet at DFCI.

Since I began this clinical trial on August 1, I have lost about 10 pounds.  For the most part, that's a good thing, since my BMI is now below 25, so I am no longer officially classified as a lard ass.  I wouldn't mind not losing another 10 pounds, however.  Since my MLN9708 dosage is scaled based on my computed body surface area (see the calculation in my September 4, 2011 post), my dosage has now been reduced from 5.8 mg to 5.6 mg.

Those of you who know me realize that I have a very slight tendency to display OCD.  When I get a bee in my bonnet, I usually beat it to death (to mix my metaphors).  Anyway, in my last post, I indicated that I was perusing the nearly 130 abstracts for the ASH Annual Meeting for papers being presented in the single category "Myeloma Therapy Excluding Transplantation".  I'm sure you will all be excited to know that I decided to analyze all of them, and I made up a spread sheet for all of the novel drugs currently undergoing clinical trials.  For each new trial drug, I give a short trial objective, ASH Abstract Number, whether it is for newly diagnosed (ND) or relapsed/refractory (RR) MM, other agents used (if any), agents used prior to RR, the overall response rate (ORR) as a performance measure, and any relevant comments.  I basically spent the whole day Monday on this project.  The bee died.

I'd hate to guess how many of you are breathless with excitement to learn the results of my efforts.  I wasn't able to shrink the spreadsheet down to fit in this blog space, which is a good thing, because it would have been unreadable anyway.  However, for those of you who are interested, I will be glad to email a copy of the spreadsheet.  I don't expect my email server to crash due to the sheer volume of requests.

As I previously mentioned, Pat Killingsworth will be attending the ASH Meeting as a freelance journalist, so I sent him a copy of the spreadsheet, just in case it would help him identify priorities in covering various papers.  He was very impressed (or so he said), and indicated it would be of help to him.  As for myself, I learned a lot from this exercise.  As I expected, there are multiple clinical trials underway for the well-publicised new drugs (carfilzomib, pomalidomide, vorinostat, panobinostat, elotuzumab, and ARRY-520).  What I didn't expect is that in addition to MLN9708, there are 15 other new drugs already in Phase 1 or 2 clinical trials for treating MM!  This list doesn't include the many pre-clinical drugs being developed (including JQ1) that may progress to clinical trials over the next couple of years.  This represents a robust research effort which holds considerable promise for transitioning MM from an "incurable" to a "manageable" disease over the next several years.  It remains to be seen whether Overall Survival (OS) numbers will continue to increase, but the prospects look pretty good.


  1. I'll take a copy of that spreadsheet when you have a chance.

  2. Thanks for asking, Jeff. I'll send it right along. At least someone wants it. ;-)

  3. As Heather's step-mom, I really enjoyed your post and I'm sure Heather values your appreciation of her contribution to your journey. Not everyone takes the time to thank those who serve; even when nurses are "just doing their job," they deserve gratitude and appreciation and it was so nice of you to express yours.

  4. Hey Bill - are you sure there wasn't an entire hive of bees in your OCD bonnet on Monday?!? XOXO

  5. Marilyn,
    Maybe so. I did have quite a buzz on at the time.

  6. Sue,

    Thanks for the comment. Heather is lucky to have you for her step mom.