Pomalidomide Rocks

At least for me it does. I’ve been on a study of Celgene’s pomalidomide (CC-4047) for 34 complete cycles now, and it has kept my myeloma stable for all of that time. At first I took it with “low-dose” dexamethasone (DEX), and after two years graduated to pomalidomide alone (actually with aspirin and acyclovir). M-spike and IgG dropped quickly in the first three months, and for more than two years IgG has been about a third of the starting value with M-spike tracking appropriately.

“Pomalidomide” is the drug’s generic name, while CC-4047 is a code name for the same drug in drug trials. Someday it may have the brand name “Actimid,” when it is available for sale. I hope that happens soon, because it’s good stuff and people are dying right and left.

I think this is publishable news: Mayo Clinic will soon open a new arm of the CC-4047 study. Entrance criteria were not established when I was there on Oct 20, but one objective is to make it available to more people who need it, so I suspect the entrance criteria will be fairly wide.

Cycle 34 Test Results:

At the end of the previous cycle, my IgG was down a little and M-spike was up. This time, IgG is up a little and M-Spike is back down. I suppose that’s the definition of “stable” for us myelomiacs, because these tests do have some error tolerance and our blood varies too. Other markers, like lambda light chains, calcium, and some of the CBC blood counts are virtually unchanged. No problem – a boring visit -:) Let’s have lots more of those!

Neutrophils were a bit of a surprise, though. The study requires at least 1000 of those tiny critters per microliter of blood, or else the pomalidomide has to be stopped until neutrophils climb above that mark again. Sometimes mine have been below 1000, so we’ve chosen to switch to 1:00 pm blood draws, taken the day before the Mayo visit, because my neutrophil counts are reliably higher in the afternoon. This time, though, the afternoon count was 2100, actually well into the “normal” range, and another count the next morning at Mayo also showed 2100. Why? Maybe because I have a miserable cold, and those little buggers are an essential part of the battle that’s going on. They have been recruited and they are rallying!

Mayo, Dr KDS:
I have a pain in the index finger of the left hand – can’t quite localize it though. Could it be myeloma? Answer: Probably not – myeloma usually attacks larger targets with more marrow.
I changed my diet this month to reduce the amount of simple sugar. This means no cookies or other sweets, and less fruit. Since the myeloma didn’t change much, I believe this experiment was a failure and will go back to the higher-fruit diet.
I also had more constipation than usual this month. It’s a known side effect of pomalidomide, but we agreed that the increase was probably due to the reduction of fruit in the diet.
An afternoon blood draw produces a neutrophil count about 50% higher than does a morning draw, for me. Dr KDS tried that with another patient, though, and it didn’t work. We’re all different.

Some Current Test Results: