Three years ago, when I attended the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, the darling of the dance was Darzalex® (daratumumab). They combined Darzalex® with everything and with great results. The past couple of years CAR-T therapy took over as the most talked about. But this year, there is a new darling attending the dance: Bispecific antibodies. The first one to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is TECVAYLI™ (teclistamab). And there were many abstracts presented on future bi-specific antibodies treatments. We, as patients, have a lot to look forward to for treatment options.
In 2022, we now have so many treatment options that the question becomes what treatment to choose. In the slides below, you can see all the FDA-approved therapies since 2003 as well as the many treatment paths to discuss with your doctor at first relapse.
My original focus for this year’s ASH was on abstracts involving treatments for relapsed/refractory myeloma patients, knowing that one day I will relapse again. But as I listen to many of the abstracts, I can’t help but think of my support group (SG) members. When hear a presentation on the next step after CAR-t stops working, I think of my SG member who just had a CAR-T treatment and several more who have been recommended to have one. When I listen to abstracts that study when and how we can stop maintenance therapy, I think of my SG members who have been on maintenance for many years with all the side effects and toxicity. There have been abstracts and presentations on how to best treat frail patients and what the actual definition of frail should be. Again, I think of my SG members that may fall into that category. When they need to change treatment or when treatments are failing them, I want to be able to give them some information they can talk about with their doctor.
As support group leaders, many of us refer to our support group as “my people.” They do become like family. They are our myeloma family. When I started our support group 5 years ago, I didn’t know how much I would come to care for “my people.” Having myeloma is not fun. But it has been a blessing in so many ways through the people I have met. I have come a long way on my myeloma journey. We still have a long way to go to find a cure. But I believe we are getting close.
There were 1041 oral and poster abstracts about myeloma presented at ASH this year. There is no way to see all of them or be able to report on all of them. I encourage you to read the blog posts from the rest of the ASH Team for a different perspective. And I sincerely am grateful to the International Myeloma Foundation and its sponsors Takeda Oncology, Amgen and Karyopharm, that makes it possible for us to attend ASH. Happy Holidays!!