Jack Aiello: My Reflections on ASH 2014 | Transcript | Multiple Myeloma | Patient Power


Jack Aiello: My Reflections on ASH 2014

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Carol Preston:

Hello everyone and welcome to Patient Power.  It's great to have you with us.  In San Francisco, we're on location at the ASH, the American Society of Hematology.  Lots of hustle-bustle going on as researchers wrap up the conference today presenting the latest information on blood disorders and blood cancers. 

One of our favorite Patient Power people has joined us, Jack Aiello.  And, Jack, will you introduce yourself? 

Jack Aiello:

Sure.  As you say, my name is Jack Aiello.  I'm a 20-year myeloma survivor.  I'm actually here with several other support group leaders that have been sent here from the International Myeloma Foundation so that we're able to take information back to our support groups and for others.  And I'm also proud to be a board member of the PEM, Patient Empowerment Network. 

Carol Preston:

Great.  Well, Jack, you talked about taking information back.  What information—what have you heard, and what do you think you will be taking back?  

Jack Aiello:

Well, I'm fortunate that I've done a blog each night, so I've already started to gather what the most important information is.  I—I've been to nine or 10 ASHes, so I have a pretty good feel for how ASH works.  There are some years that you've heard something for the first time, and there are some years where continued information about a particular treatment evolves, and I think this is one of those years of the second one.  There's no—in my opinion, I haven't seen a blockbuster treatment or drug announced, but what I have seen are continued answers in terms of what's good treatment for myeloma patients. 

For example, Keith Stewart a couple of days ago discussed the final Phase III trial of carfilzomib (Kyprolis®) with lenalidomide (Revlimid®) and dex (dexamethasone [Decadron®]) versus Revlimid and dex alone.  Both are excellent treatment arms, but the carfilzomib with Revlimid and dex increased the response rates, but in particular increased the complete response rates.  And we as myeloma patients have been told for years and years that the deeper the response the better the progression-free survival and the longer the overall survival.  So to see increased complete remissions is really important. 

Pomalidomide (Pomalyst®) was a drug that was approved at the beginning of last year, I believe, or this year maybe, and has been shown—has been shown again to be—continues to be an effective drug, whether it's used just with dexamethasone or combined with other baseline therapies. 

One of the continuing exciting areas is the monoclonal antibodies.  There are still three out there that are continuing to be developed and show responses.  There are two anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies that go by the name of daratumumab (HuMax®-CD38) and SAR followed by six numbers that I don't remember, so we just refer to it as SAR. 

Carol Preston:

Right. 

Jack Aiello:

And those two along with elotuzumab is another of those.  All are showing still continued responses in patients, and patients are certainly excited about it. 

One new drug that I heard about and saw results at ASH, this ASH, is called ibrutinib (Imbruvica®).  It's a kinase inhibitor.  I don't know what that means.  I just want drugs to work, and in an early Phase I or II trial, that was shown to also have responses in myeloma patients.  And the interesting thing about this drug is it was recently approved by the FDA for mantle cell lymphoma and chronic…

Carol Preston:

Lymphocytic. 

Jack Aiello:

…lymphocytic leukemia. 

Carol Preston:

And I'm a CLL patient so, yeah. 

Jack Aiello:

So it's already been out there and is well understood.  And the way it works implies that it should also have some benefit for myeloma patients, and that's what's in tests right now.  So I'd say those are kind of the overall number of drugs and treatment arms that I've seen that I'll continue to follow and be enthusiastic about. 

Carol Preston:

Yeah.  So no real blockbusters from your perspective for patients but encouraging news based on the progress that you see being made on a number of fronts. 

Jack Aiello:

That's correct.  And no blockbuster from my perspective, and from my perspective I look at what's in a Phase II or Phase III trial.  There are lots of posters out there that talk about markers that they look at on myeloma cells and what's a potential target, and these are all at the biological level, which I don't understand, and maybe it will result in a blockbuster in two years from now and start to impact patient treatments and such.  

Carol Preston:

Well, you'll just have to keep coming back to ASH. 

Jack Aiello:

I really hope so.  

Carol Preston:

You mention you're a 20?year survivor.  You look terrific.  How are you feeling?  

Jack Aiello:

I feel great.  I don't walk so well, and so I have to use a scooter to get around these long distances, but I'm, you know, pretty sharp from the neck up and hope to continue to be at ASH and provide information for myeloma patients. 

Carol Preston:

Well, myeloma patients continue to look forward to your blog.  Is there a website for that blog, you know, for patients who may be new? 

Jack Aiello:

Yeah, it's on the International Myeloma Foundation website which is myeloma.org.  And in the Bay Area we have a large—which is where we are right now, we have a large Bay Area multiple myeloma support group with our website as well. 

Carol Preston:

Great.  Great.  So myeloma patients can continue to look forward.  They can watch for updates obviously at patientpower.info and also check out Jack's blog at the International Myeloma Foundation website. 

On location at ASH, San Francisco, as Jack mentioned, short commute home for him, I'm Carol Preston for Patient Power.  And remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on January 14, 2015