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The Top Myeloma Beacon News Articles Of 2011

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Published: Jan 6, 2012 11:14 am

The year 2011 was filled with important multiple myeloma-related news.  Throughout the year, myeloma experts made discoveries that have helped physicians better understand who is at risk of developing myeloma, improve treatment of multiple myeloma, better predict the survival of myeloma patients, and much more.

As a service to its readers, The Myeloma Beacon has compiled a list of the news articles and topics that Myeloma Beacon readers found most interesting during 2011.

#1: Revlimid And Secondary Cancers – Results from three studies presented in late 2010 first showed that long-term maintenance therapy with Revlimid (lenalidomide) may increase a myeloma patient’s risk of developing a second cancer.  Throughout 2011, safety reviews and additional analyses were conducted to shed further light on the safety of Revlimid and other myeloma therapies.  Beacon readers were particularly interested in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s safety review, the difference in opinions among myeloma experts about the risks and benefits of Revlimid, and a statement from European myeloma researchers about Revlimid and secondary cancers.

#2: Gene Therapy Advance In Leukemia Suggests New Treatment Options For Multiple Myeloma – A promising experimental method for treating advanced leukemia may point the way to important new treatment options for multiple myeloma. The new method used genetically altered versions of patients’ own immune cells to treat three patients with very advanced cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  Two of the patients have been left free of any signs of cancer, and the other achieved a partial response.  The researchers said that they would like to expand their study to include other types of cancer.

#3: Genetic Differences Linked To Increased Risk Of Multiple Myeloma – Researchers have identified specific areas of the human genome that consistently differ between people with multiple myeloma and people who do not have the disease.  These findings help explain why the risk of developing myeloma seems to be higher in some families than in others.

#4: Transplantation Versus Novel Agents For Myeloma: Study Supports Transplantation (EHA 2011) – As the myeloma community continues to investigate whether stem cell transplantation or treatment with novel agents is the best way to treat newly diagnosed myeloma patients, results from a Phase 3 clinical trial indicate that stem cell transplantation may lead to longer disease-free survival. The results also show, however, that transplanted patients may experience more severe side effects compared to non-transplanted patients.

#5: Complete Response After Stem Cell Transplant For Myeloma Indicates Best Prognosis – Long-term follow-up results confirm that a complete response following stem cell transplantation in multiple myeloma patients increases overall and progression-free survival compared to a very good or partial response.

#6: Results Of PET/CT Scans May Predict Survival In Multiple Myeloma Patients – According to a study, the results of PET/CT scans conducted at diagnosis, after induction therapy, and after stem cell transplantation may predict survival in multiple myeloma patients.  Specifically, patients with PET/CT scans negative for cancer cells, bone lesions, or other signs of active cancer had longer progression-free and overall survival times than patients with positive PET/CT scans.

#7: Study Finds Early And Delayed Stem Cell Transplants Have Comparable Efficacy In Newly Diagnosed Multiple Myeloma Patients – Results of an analysis suggest that newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients receiving Revlimid or thalidomide (Thalomid) as initial therapy have similar prognoses regardless of whether they receive an early stem cell transplant or delay the transplant and continue their initial treatment.

#8: Fatigue And Multiple Myeloma: Study Highlights Role Of Mood, Reevaluates Role Of Pain – A study found that fatigue in multiple myeloma patients is associated with sleep and mood disturbances, reduced abilities to complete simple physical activities, and elevated levels of physical pain.

#9: MLN9708, “Son of Velcade,” Shows Promising Initial Results In Multiple Myeloma (ASH 2011) – The initial results from three early-phase clinical trials suggest that the investigational drug MLN9708 (ixazomib), either alone or in combination with Revlimid and dexamethasone (Decadron), may be an effective treatment for both newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients and patients with relapsed and/or treatment-resistant disease. MLN9708 belongs to the same class of drugs as Velcade (bortezomib).  However, it can be administered orally in capsule form instead of being given by injection or infusion.

#10: NCCN Modifications To Multiple Myeloma Guidelines – In 2011, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) announced two sets of updates and changes to its guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma.  The NCCN guidelines are followed closely by physicians and by many U.S. health insurance companies when making reimbursement decisions about different cancer treatments.

Photo by NS Newsflash on Flickr – some rights reserved.
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