The International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Honors Researchers Prof. Philippe Moreau, MD, and Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson at the 9th Annual Summit in Stockholm

  • June 13, 2018

    The International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Honors Researchers Prof. Philippe Moreau, MD, and Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson at the 9th Annual Summit in Stockholm

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On June 12, the IMF presented the 2018 IMWG Awards in Stockholm. On the warm and sunny evening, attendees traveled by boat to the waterside Fotografiska Museum of Photography, a converted brick customs house, where the celebration was held.

IMF President and CEO Susie Durie and IMF Chairman Dr. Brian G.M. Durie welcomed guests with a champagne toast. The first annual Outstanding Achievement Award, named in Dr. Durie’s honor to recognize an individual who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in myeloma research, was given to Dr. Sigurdur Yngvi Kristinsson, Professor of Hematology at the University of Iceland and a specialist in internal medicine and hematology at the Landspitali University Hospital in Iceland.

Susie Durie praised Dr. Kristinsson’s leadership of the Black Swan Research Initiative-supported iStopMM project. Dr. Johann Gudmundsson, a longtime friend and colleague, offered an affectionate roasting. Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar told the audience that he was sincerely grateful to be asked to speak on the behalf of Dr. Kristinsson, who he called “an amazing researcher.”

Guests dined on a special meal showcasing the fresh flavors of Sweden’s early summer season. Then, Prof. Jean-Luc Harousseau kicked off the presentation of the 16th Annual Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award to Prof. Moreau, Head of the Hematology Department at the University Hospital of Nantes, France, and Professor of Clinical Hematology at Nantes Faculty of Medicine.

Named for world-renowned myeloma expert Dr. Robert Kyle, the award honors individuals whose work has resulted in significant advances in research, treatment, and care of myeloma patients around the world.

Prof. Moreau heads a unit focusing on early phase I and phase II trials in clinical hematology and is a member of the administration council of the Intergroupe Francophone du Myélome (IFM), for which he served as chairman from 2006 through 2009.

“In 2008, I gave you the keys to my department,” Prof. Harousseau said to Prof. Moreau. “I am very happy to tell you publicly tonight what I tell you privately. I haven’t been disappointed. The student has surpassed the master. Congratulations, and thank you so much for what you did for us.”

Also speaking on Prof. Moreau’s behalf were Prof. Jesus San Miguel, Dr. Rajkumar, and Prof. Steven Le Gouill. Prof. Le Gouill amused the audience with his presentation of a so-called “scientific study” of his great friend and colleague. “The PHIL MORE REAL study is the first mono-centric, mono-patient, prospective very, very long-term and never-ending observational real life study,” said Prof. Le Gouill. What followed were photos of Prof. Moreau “in the field,” watching sporting events, working at his computer, sporting the hairstyles of various eras throughout the decades.

Considerable work and affection went into the mock-scientific presentation, which was especially appreciated by the researchers in the audience.

Dr. Rajkumar spoke of “Philippe, the Researcher,” author of more than 400 papers and leader of 15 randomized trials. “Most of us strive to do two or three,” he noted. Then he spoke of “Philippe, the Leader,” who, in his role on the IMWG steering committee, acts “fearlessly.”

“You totally deserve this honor,” said Dr. Rajkumar. “This is long overdue.”

Dr. San Miguel praised the honoree’s “fast reflexes” and his passions for his work and his family, son Antoine and daughter Zoe, who joined their father in celebration.

Prof. Moreau thanked Susie and Dr. Durie, and said that the Kyle Award was “the most prestigious award a myeloma researcher could receive.”

“I would never have imagined in 1997 when I received my degree in hematology that I would get this award. Jean-Luc [Harousseau] took me under his wing. He is a true mentor.”

As was Dr. Kyle. “In 1988, I got a handwritten letter from Bob Kyle inviting me to Rochester to speak. I was so shy. But when I arrived in Rochester, he greeted me as a colleague,” he recalled.

“Tonight,” Prof. Moreau said, “I feel tremendous pride, and a reminder of the duty to care for our patients.”

Dr. Kyle was unable to attend but sent a video congratulating Prof. Moreau. “I know you will be doing more great things in the years to come.”

Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar and Prof. Philippe Moreau, MD, perform John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the 2018 IMWG Awards ceremony in Stockholm.The evening ended with a playful musical performance by Prof. Moreau and Dr. Rajkumar of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”

That evening, Dr. Kristinsson and Prof. Moreau were recognized as champions for myeloma patients around the world. The IMF congratulates them.