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New Treatment Options Give Hope to Myeloma Patients

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Published on June 16, 2020

With new treatment options emerging, should multiple myeloma patients feel hopeful about the future?
 
In this final segment from our recent Answers Now program, patient advocates Jim Omel, Cindy Chmielewski and Maddie Hunter, led by Jack Aiello, share why they are more hopeful than ever for their fellow myeloma patients. They also discuss new treatment options presented from the recently concluded 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting and briefly cover drugs that are being studied in new combination therapies. Watch now to learn more.
 

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Transcript | New Treatment Options Give Hope to Myeloma Patients

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Recorded on June 5, 2020

 Jack Aiello:

I want to welcome my fellow patient advocates. We have Cindy Chmielewski from New Jersey joining us, I have Maddie Hunter from outside of New York City joining us, and Jim Omel from the great state of Nebraska with us. And together, we're going to talk about key takeaways that each of us saw at ASCO.

So just to give you some background, what the heck is ASCO? Each June researchers from around the world gather to share their findings in Chicago, except this year with the COVID-19 this sharing of discoveries was done virtually. But nearly 43,000 attended from 138 countries to provide both oral and poster presentations with prerecorded videos and slides.

While ASCO predominantly focuses on solid or tissue cancers, there were several excellent updates provided for the myeloma community. Why do you care about this? Well, with new research, it could change your treatment plan. The research could provide you with questions to ask your doctor. And ultimately like me, I think it gives you hope.

Cindy, we had a question come in, there was a little bit of confusion, I guess, with respect to the PFS and OS and the figures that you gave. Can you clarify?

Cindy Chmielewski:

Yes. Talking about the progression free survival, this was beyond 38 months, Len was continued versus not continued. And at six years, the progression free survival in the group that stopped Len or Revlimid was 61%, and the group that continued with Len was 79.8%. So there was a significant benefit to continue with Revlimid maintenance until progression. There was a 61% versus almost 80%. And they did the analysis also based on high risk and standard risk at five years. For the percentage who were that stopped Len was, in high risk, 67% were still progression-free at five years as compared to 86% for the group that continued Len. So there seemed to be a major progression-free benefit. I don't believe, I'm going to look through quickly, but I don't think the overall survival... Oh yes. The overall survival, there also seemed to be a benefit, but there was no significant difference.

Cindy Chmielewski:

There doesn't seem to be an overall, but there's still a lot of people on trial. So yes.

Jack Aiello:

And just to let folks know, there were a number of new drugs also discussed at this meeting. While they still are all in trial, the one that is actually not in trial if you will, is selinexor (Xpovio). That was a drug that was approved for myeloma patients a few months ago, but what's now in trial is that they're looking at results combining selinexor with Velcade or with Revlimid or with Kyprolis. And the oral presentation that was given was selinexor with Velcade and dex certainly showed a benefit, and other new drugs that were discussed, Maddie mentioned one called bela-maf. Another one that's done discussion was teclistamab. So I think at least I'm quite hopeful as a result of comments that came out of ASH. What about you all? Any kind of summary feelings in one or two sentences? Jim?

Jim Omel:

Jack, I think what I would take from it is that myeloma patients have every reason to be much more optimistic than we did many years ago when you and I were diagnosed. There's a good promising set of new drugs available. And even the ones we have now are giving really extended survival benefits. It's that high risk group that we really need to keep working for. They're the ones who need our help and better treatments.

Jack Aiello:

Well said. Cindy?

Cindy Chmielewski:

Yeah, I kind of agree with Jim. The other thing I just wanted to bring up is something that I liked listening about too, was this new, I don't know if it's a new class of drugs or if it's an improvement on the IMiDs, the cell mods, I'm still not quite sure if they're a whole new class or if they're super IMiDs, but they seem to be very, very promising. They're showing a lot of benefit in triple refractory myeloma patients. And even I saw a slide on how well it worked on a patient with extramedullary disease. So these cell mods caught my interests, but...

Jack Aiello:

...We heard about them from Celgene at ASH, one called [inaudible]. And ASCO, there was a cell mod, that's only got numbers associated with it. It looks pretty exciting. I agree with you.

Cindy Chmielewski:

I was looking at the mechanism of action. I'm still trying to figure it out. But I will get there someday.

Jack Aiello:

And Maddie?

Maddie Hunter:

I guess conceptually for me, there's just more and more choices for us in terms of, my physician, Dr. Jagannath likes to talk about the box of chocolates, that we have more and more and more, and these different combinations, many of which now I think help us to be COVID resistant. And I go back to my concern about COVID, that we're in a community right now that's looking at a lot of oral preparations as well as shorter term infusions or subcutaneous infusions that enable us to have shorter time in the clinic. And I think a vaccine is not around the corner for COVID. So I just heard lots of these abstracts as being a contributor to feeling as if we're in good shape as a community to weather the COVID storm.

Jack Aiello:

I agree. Wow, we've covered a lot during our time here today. Let's see, I'll summarize real quickly. The Velcade RD seems to be fairly equivalent to Kyprolis RD, Revlimid dex, and for patients that are not intending to get a transplant and not high risk. We talked about transplants. We talked about CAR T therapy, Maddie discussed renal insufficiency, and there have been new drugs out there and for any patient considering clinical trials, that's how we really advance the treatment of myeloma.

I feel more hopeful. I always appreciate learning from you all. I thoroughly enjoy my guests. I've known them for many, many years. Cindy, hope that storm doesn't hit you too bad, but I will say a waving goodbye to you. Maddie, maybe you'll see the storm since you're in the same area before Cindy does. Bye to you. And Jim, my friend from Nebraska, I wish you always the best and look forward to the next time we are able to get together. And I want to thank all of you, my fellow patients, for tuning in today, my panelists and myself hopefully shared knowledge that will provide you some insights. And I thank you for watching.

I'm Jack Aiello and remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all. Thank you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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