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The 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Haematology (ASH) took place on the 8 – 12 December inAtlanta,USA. This year, some 200 talks and over 500 posters dedicated to myeloma research were presented. Here, we summarise some of the highlights emerging from the conference:

  • The first interim results from the UK Myeloma XI study showing that for patients who did not respond well to their initial treatment of either cyclophosphamide, thalidomide and dexamethasone (CTD) or cyclophosphamide, Revlimid® and dexamethasone (CRD), subsequent treatment with a Velcade®-containing combination significantly improved response rates and achieved clinical benefit


  • Late-breaking results from an International Phase III study demonstrating that treatment with pomalidomide plus low-dose dexamethasone significantly increased the length of remission and improved overall survival compared to treatment with high-dose dexamethasone in relapsed and refractory myeloma patients who had previously received thalidomide, Velcade and/or Revlimid


  • The combination of Kyprolis™ (carfilzomib), cyclophosphamide and dexamethasone producing overall response rates double that of standard treatment with melphalan, prednisolone and thalidomide in newly-diagnosed myeloma patients not suited for high-dose therapy and stem cell transplantation


  • Elotuzumab, the monoclonal antibody at the most advanced stages of development, continuing to show promise as a treatment for myeloma in the latest analysis of a Phase II study in combination with Revlimid and dexamethasone for relapsed patients. In particular, the results showed that outcomes for patients receiving 10mg/kg of elotuzumab were better than for those receiving 20mg/kg


  • Long-term follow-up data from the UK Myeloma IX study continuing to demonstrate the benefits of thalidomide maintenance treatment following initial treatment for specific sub-groups of patients by improving length of remission and overall survival


  • Latest results from a number of novel drugs which show promise as potential treatments for myeloma either on their own or in combination with existing treatments including:BT-062 – A monoclonal antibody linked to a toxin which specifically targets the CD138 protein found on the surface of myeloma cellsIPH2101 – A monoclonal antibody which facilitates activation of the immune system to destroy myeloma cellsRocilinostat – Also known as ACY 1215, the latest histone deacetylase inhibitor being tested which works by increasing the production of proteins which slow down and prevent the growth and survival of myeloma cells

    Tabalumab – Also known as LY2127399, a monoclonal antibody which targets a protein called BAFF normally required for myeloma cell survival. By blocking BAFF, tabalumab causes myeloma cell death

    ARRY-520 – the first drug to be developed which blocks the kinesin spindle protein required during cell division. In doing so ARRY 520 stops myeloma cells from dividing and causes them to die

    Circularly permutated TRAIL – A drug which activates receptors on the surface of myeloma cells called TRAIL, causing them to undergo a form of cell suicide

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