From May 4th through May 6th, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) made its presence known around the globe.  Reflecting on the many activities the IMF was involved with, I realize how lucky we are and how critical it is to be part of so many wonderful and important collaborations. It is all well and good to have brilliant ideas alone in the research lab. But only by linking arms with like-minded people—scientists, patients, caregivers, and advocates—will we truly move forward to find the pathway to a cure.

On May 4, 2017, 835 healthcare professionals attended the IMF’s Nurse Leadership Board symposium at the Oncology Nursing Symposium in Denver, Colorado. The symposium focused on “Case Studies: Best Practices in Patient Care and Symptom Management” (slides available here). Presenters and NLB members used seven cases to illustrate recommendations throughout the course of the disease, from diagnosis to relapse management. The program was a huge success and is a mainstay of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS).

Members of the IMF’s Nurse Leadership Board presented the latest myeloma research and education at the Oncology Nursing Symposium. (From left to right) Joseph D. Tariman, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAAN; Sandra Rome, RN, MN, AOCN®, CNS; Beth Faiman, PhD, MSN, APRN-BC, AOCN®, and Charise Gleason, MSN, NP-BC, AOCNP®.

On May 6th, I presented at the 6th Heidelberg Myeloma Workshop in Germany. Global myeloma experts were present to discuss everything from the basic science to the newest therapies. A major emphasis was on the search for a cure, and, as part of that, I provided an overview of the Black Swan Research Initiative (BSRI)®

In addition, the results of eight BSRI projects were presented: four from Heidelberg related to imaging, MRD testing, molecular and family studies; one from Australia on blood DNA testing; one by the Spanish team; and two from the US on MRD testing and long-survival analyses. Really a blockbuster meeting for BSRI!

On May 6th, 2017, the Belgian multiple myeloma support group MYMU (Wallonie Bruxelles) and the IMF held the first Patient & Family Seminar in La Hulpe, Belgium.

Dr. Rafat Abonour (Indiana University) presented at the IMF and MYMU Patient & Family Seminar in La Hulpe, Belgium.

During the first weekend of May, a team of myeloma doctors gathered in São Paulo, Brazil, for Janssen’s annual hematology meeting – Haimatus. (From left to right) Drs. Joseph Mikhael, Vania Hungria, Maria-Victoria Mateos, and Angelo Maiolino – all members of the IMF’s research arm, the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG). 

Drs. Maria-Victoria Mateos and Joseph Mikhael take a well-deserved break during the hematology meeting in Brazil. The two of them will be joining me very soon for the IMF / IMWG Conference Series, a livestreamed hour-long discussion of the latest myeloma research, following the annual IMWG Summit in Madrid, on June 21.

A Next-Generation Flow cytometry machine arrived at the iStopMM® project Lab in Reykjavik, Iceland on May 6, 2017. This technology can identify the number of cells, for example, if one in one million cells, has myeloma.

The iStopMM team members welcomed the project’s first patients to its new clinic just a few days before on April 28th, 2017.​

CNN’s “Vital Signs” broadcast (taped in Iceland) aired on Saturday, May 6th, in the US. The segment featured an interview by Dr. Sanjay Gupta with IMF Chairman Dr. Brian Durie and iStopMM Principal Investigator Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson.

Image of Dr. Brian G.M. DurieDr. Brian G.M. Durie serves as Chairman of the International Myeloma Foundation and serves on its Scientific Advisory Board. Additionally, he is Chairman of the IMF's International Myeloma Working Group, a consortium of nearly 200 myeloma experts from around the world. Dr. Durie also leads the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative®.

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