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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

ASCO Conference

The annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) was held last week in Chicago.  Multiple Myeloma was only one of the cancers represented, but there were some interesting MM results presented.

Promising results were presented for two of the leading monoclonal antibodies, elotuzomab and datatumumab.  These two immunotherapies, both of which target the protein CD38, which appears on many MM cancer cells, are both headed for early approval by the FDA.  These two drugs could become potential front line MM immunotherapies in the near future.  A couple of other studies showed the benefits of Kyprolis (carfilzomib) over Velcade, which is good since Kyprolis doesn't have the adverse side effects of peripheral neurophathy that plagues Velcade users.  Kyprolis could soon become the standard front-line therapy option for MM. 

Of most interest to me was the CALGB study, which compared Revlimid vs. a placebo for long-term maintenance after an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT).  Here is a link to the abstract:

CALGB Revlimid maintenance study

It was comforting to note that long-term maintenance with Rev provided significant benefits for relapse times and overall survival.  However, the downside is that there is an increased possibility for secondary cancers for those on the Rev arm.  Most of the participants in this study are on a regimen of 15 mg/day of Revlimid.  However, because of my issues with low neutrophil counts, I have been on a reduced dose of 5 mg/day for the last 3 years.  On the one hand, that's good, as it probably reduces my risk of a secondary cancer event.  On the other hand, am I getting enough benefit from the Rev at such a low dose?  I think I might want to ask this question of Paul Richardson when I see him in a couple of weeks.

We are preparing for our trip to Peru in July to visit our daughter, Holly, and her fiance, Ryan.  Holly has been there since February teaching pre-school kids in a Montessori school.  We miss her a lot and are really looking forward to our trip.  There are some issues though.  We would like to visit Machu Picchu and also the Amazon rain forest while we are there.  There are immunization shots we have to take, such as yellow fever, and maybe updates on some others  We also need protection from malaria and high altitude.  I think by now I have most of the childhood shots needed, since I had to start from scratch since my ASCT.  I believe I have one more left (I'm not sure which one) which I should get on my next visit to the Farber this month.  Hopefully, I'll be OK to go.  I worry about Gretchen though with her brain injury, but she emailed her brain surgeon to ask if it was OK to go to the high altitudes in Peru.  He responded to say it would be fine.  Whew!  We've scheduled an appointment for June 23 to get the requisite immunizations.  I just hope that between the altitude, the mosquitoes, the heat, and the rain that we will all survive intact.  Personally, I'm really excited about this trip to spend time with family and see some of the wonders of the world.

1 comment:

  1. EZ and I just attended an IMF workshop in Charlotte, NC and we were very excited to hear about results from the clinical trials for the monoclonal antibodies, and hopefully approval very soon for at least two of them! EZ has been on daily 10 mg. Revlimid as maintenance for over 4 years. It is doing its job so far!! Hope it continues to do so for you as well.

    In regards to Peru, our son was able to be in Cuzco for 3 months for a volunteer fellowship with a dental school professor. He LOVED it, and finished his time there by hiking to Macchu Picchu with 4 of his closest friends...incredible! He also spent time in the Rain Forest, with a monkey as a bed mate! Nothing like it and I am excited that you and Gretchen can go! I know you miss your daughter and would love to hug her and see where she is teaching. Hoping you get all your necessary vaccinations and medications and can plan your trip in July with complete peace! My son's camera was stolen by some real pros who worked in tandem to distract he and his friends, so hold on tight to any cameras!