The International Myeloma Foundation: Multiple Studies at Global Cancer Conference Show New Therapies Changing the Outlook for Patients With Blood Cancers

- Studies Presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Society of

Hematology (ASH)

ORLANDO, Fla., and NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Dec. 8 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ --

The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) -- conducting research and

providing education, advocacy and support for myeloma patients, families,

researchers and physicians -- today noted that multiple studies presented at

the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

illustrate the breadth of the gains being made in the treatment of multiple

myeloma and related blood cancers. The findings show that new treatment

regimens that began with THALOMID(R) and extend to both VELCADE(R) and the

newest oral treatment REVLIMID(R) are helping a growing range of myeloma

patients when used alone, sequentially and in various combinations.

Collectively, these studies represent a significant increase in knowledge of

how myeloma responds to treatment, which is already becoming applicable to

other cancers.

The patient groups studied cover the full range, from relapsed patients

to the newly diagnosed, young to old, and include patients with an otherwise

poor prognosis due to chromosomal abnormalities. In some cases the data being

presented at the conference significantly advances previous studies to show

long-term response in newly diagnosed patients. In one of the most

significant studies, researchers from the Mayo Clinic report 67% of patients

using REVLIMID (plus the steroid dexamethasone) as primary therapy, achieved

a response categorized as complete or very good, with a low rate of disease

progression continuing even after two years.

"The many studies being presented at ASH not only confirm the good news

we have been experiencing firsthand in our work with myeloma patients, but

show that working with new classes of drugs is actually teaching us about

treating cancer," said Brian G. M. Durie, M.D., myeloma specialist and

chairman and co-founder of the International Myeloma Foundation. "We are

learning to attack not just the cancer cell, but the environment in which it

lives. We know that drugs like REVLIMID, for example, have multiple

mechanisms of action, blocking the growth of tumor blood vessels, sensitizing

the cancer cells to natural killer cells and suppressing TNF-alpha, a growth

factor associated with inflammation. Understanding these mechanisms of

action helps us increase the efficacy of our treatments, decrease their side

effects, and apply them to a growing range of cancers including MDS, non-

Hodgkins lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia."

In addition to the previously mentioned study from Mayo clinic, other key

studies show that REVLIMID and VELCADE can be used together effectively even

in patients who have already failed therapy on each drug alone. Studies cover

long-term experience using each of THALOMID, REVLIMID and VELCADE in newly

diagnosed patients, and possibly using them in various combinations as part

of powerful new cocktail treatments. Also, studies from the IMF myeloma DNA-

bank, Bank On A Cure(R), look at the origins of side effects in some

patients, while other groups use genetic profiling to better understand drug


"Blood cancers, including myeloma, are the third most common form of

cancer, and today novel therapies are transforming the way we treat them,"

said Susie Novis, president and co-founder of the International Myeloma

Foundation. "Studies presented at this meeting confirm our own experience as

the premier organization dedicated to myeloma patient advocacy and support --

while most cancer treatment benefits are measured in months, we are seeing

many of our patients experience long-term responses measured in years and

achieved without the ravages of chemotherapy. As a result, a growing number

of myeloma patients are now able to live active, productive lives."

Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a cancer of the bone marrow

that affects production of red cells, white cells and stem cells. It is the

second largest of the blood cancers affecting an estimated 750,000 people

worldwide; in industrialized countries it is growing in number and affecting

increasingly younger people.

Dr. Durie continued: "The wide range of presentations at ASH should

enable us and our partners to continue to improve the outlook for our

patients. This is perhaps the most encouraging meeting of ASH in the many

years that I have been working in the myeloma field."


The International Myeloma Foundation is the oldest and largest myeloma

organization, reaching more than 125,000 members in 113 countries worldwide.

A 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of

life of myeloma patients and their families, the IMF focuses in four key

areas: research, education, support and advocacy. To date, the IMF has

conducted more than 100 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-

renowned hotline, and operates Bank On A Cure(R), a unique gene bank to

advance myeloma research. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE or , and in Spanish at .

Source: International Myeloma Foundation (IMF)