The International Myeloma Workshop, which happens once every two years, brings myeloma experts from around the world together in an effort to share research and bring us closer to a cure. For the 2007 workshop, the place was Kos, Greece, and Andrew interviewed a leading patient advocate, myeloma expert and nurse practitioner who specializes in myeloma about their perspectives on the most significant information presented for the myeloma patient live from the workshop.
Myeloma expert Brian Durie, M.D., contends as myeloma moves closer to being a chronic disease, there has been a transformation from a focus on front-line therapies to more sequential therapies. Andrew leads an animated discussion about the new treatment options available to myeloma patients, from more steroid-free options to new drug combinations, both for newly-diagnosed and relapsed patients. Among the drugs discussed are Velcade, Revlimid, thalidomide and dexamethasone, particularly in relation to minimizing side effects and finding more steroid-free options for patients.
Dr. Durie explains the two biggest debates about treatment at the workshop surrounding stem cell transplants, novel therapies and long-term effects. Beth Fairman, a nurse at the Cleveland Clinic, discusses the many resources for myeloma patients to explore new treatment options and possible clinical trials, as well as how to broach these subjects with your doctor.
The interview addresses several patient concerns, including maintenance therapies, options for older patients, maintaining a high quality of life and the cumulative effects of taking therapies long-term. Experts are most concerned with the side effects of therapies and collaborating to find ways to select therapies that take into consideration many different factors in helping the patient to lead a full life. Overall, an extremely informative and exciting interview.
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