I’m in my 12th year as a myeloma patient, and this is my 10th year to attend the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Conference. I was reminded of my first ASH recently when I placed a red origami bird, from the Takeda Oncology exhibit booth in 2013, on my Christmas tree. You could take a bird after inputting your wish into their system. My wish was to find a cure for multiple myeloma. My personal journey with myeloma and the research that I have followed during all these years has continued to evolve, but my wish remains the same. When you’re first diagnosed with myeloma, a burning question is always how long will I survive? With each passing year, I’m encouraged by the success I’ve had to date, my ability to lead a very normal life with cancer, and the amount of research that I hope will soon make my wish come true.
I’ve been interested in monoclonal antibodies since my first ASH and I have personally benefited from two of them — Empliciti (elotuzumab) and Darzalex (daratumumab) — which were both in the early trial stages at my first ASH. I’ve been successfully treated with Darzalex, Pomalyst (pomalidomide) and dexamethasone since May of 2018, which is the longest response I’ve had to any of my treatment regimes. Right now, my light chains and IgA numbers are on the rise and I’m in the early stages of a biochemical relapse. I have no other physical symptoms and recently had a clear PET scan, so it’s not time to make a change yet. However, I won’t be surprised if a change comes at some point in 2023, so my focus of reporting on relapsed and refractory options certainly has a personal interest for me and I hope my reports are also helpful to you.
As you may have experienced, each relapse can be more emotionally challenging than the last; however, I’m ever hopeful by the number of abstracts at this year’s ASH that focus on new and improved options for relapsed and refractory patients. I know I will hear a tremendous amount about CAR Ts and bispecifics. Research continues to make improvements on what is currently approved and is always looking forward to the next generation of treatments and the best way to combine them to achieve the maximum benefit.
Many thanks to the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) and the pharmaceutical company sponsors that provide the resources for our team to participate in this year’s conference. I’m very excited to be attending in person this year after 2 years of virtual attendance. Please check out my blogs and tweets on Twitter throughout the conference!
Follow Linda on Twitter: @LindaMYELOMA