We are all excited about the myeloma moonshot, however it is the moon landing which we all want to see. What is the myeloma moon landing? It is my MYELOMA DREAM and it takes me back to a Cure Talk by Dr. Irene Ghorbrial of Dana Farber Cancer Institute in February of 2015. In it she states:
We specialists are coming to the conclusion that screening, early diagnosis, and early treatment is the future of myeloma treatment. There are a number of steps that must be taken to reach this goal. These steps are as follows:
Step 1 – We need to determine which MGUS and smoldering patients will progress to active myeloma and are candidates for early treatment. Genetic testing may be the key to this step. For example just 10% of smoldering patients will progress to full blown myeloma, whereas 50% of high risk smoldering patients will progress.
Step 2 – We need to prove early treatment will result in improved Overall Survival.
Step 3 – We have simple blood tests for the measurement of M protein and a more sophisticated test called the light chain test. Both of these tests together cost less than a mammogram or colonoscopy. However, these tests are not conducted during a normal physical and blood panel.
Where are we now? An emphasis on high risk smoldering myeloma seems to be the answer to the first step. It has been found that high risk disease is by far the most challenging of all forms of myeloma. Life expectancy for high risk myeloma is just 2 years vs 5 years for all myeloma. The end game for most myeloma patients is when the patient has high risk disease to begin with, or when standard risk disease eventually morphs into high risk myeloma. Therefore, it is felt if you can cure high risk myeloma you can cure all myeloma. Recently it has been shown that high risk smoldering myeloma has far fewer clones than high risk active myeloma, and as a result may be more likely to be treatable the earlier it can be identified.
We will be discussing the last two steps in a three part series of Cure Talks.
July Cure Talks – Dr. Shaji Kumar of Mayo Clinic Rochester will be the featured speaker on July 26th @5:00 PM EST, and he will be discussing the ASCENT high risk smoldering clinical trial with a goal of curing 30 to 50% of high risk smolder patients. CLICK HERE to find out more about the broadcast and to enter questions for Dr. Kumar to answer during his broadcast.
August Cure Talks- I think it is fair to say the Spanish group headed by Dr. Jesus San Miguel has been instrumental in proving high risk smoldering disease treatment will improve HRSMM overall survival. Dr. San Miguel will be the featured speaker during the 3rd week of August (time and date TBD). He will be discussing, “The Road to Discovering High Risk Smoldering Survival Rate Improvement”.
September Cure Talks (time and date TBD) – Dr Sigurdur Kristinsson from the University of Iceland will discuss the ground-breaking iStopMM (Iceland Screens Treats or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) study. The trial will test blood samples from all adults over the age of 40 in Iceland, almost one third of the country’s population, for the earliest signs of Myeloma.
This is a great opportunity to see the future of multiple myeloma unfold before your eyes. With the success of this initiative, myeloma may one day be as treatable as the early stages of breast cancer. The devastation and agony of the CRAB symptoms may become a fading memory. We can only dream!