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5th Annual AMN Summit, Inaugural Master Class for Doctors, and Patient Forum 

By Daniel Navid 
IMF Senior Vice President, Global Affairs  

The IMF Asian Myeloma Network held three groundbreaking events for the region, which took place on consecutive weekends in October 2021.  

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all three events convened in a live online format that was anchored by a headquarters studio in Bangkok, with additional satellite studios in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Seoul. 

October 10: Inaugural AMN Patient Forum  

On October 10, the inaugural AMN Patient Forum brought together myeloma patients and family members—with more than 80 participants joining virtually from across Asia.  

Chaired by Dr. Daryl Tan (Singapore), the Forum enabled local patient groups to present their activities and to learn from experiences elsewhere.  

Nerysa Lee of Hong Kong Myeloma Care & Share patient association provided a keynote presentation with an overview of the vibrant organization’s work while emphasizing on steps taken for its rapid development.  

Next on the agenda, IMF Vice President of Support Groups Robin Tuohy spoke about how the IMF works to support myeloma patient groups. She also explained how the IMF “Tool Kit” offers services to fledgling myeloma societies in Asia.  

Reports from independent patient groups in each of the eight AMN countries and regions (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand) showed different stages of activities— with all aiming for increased action in terms of patient education and support, as well as advocacy efforts. Hitherto loosely organized groups in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand indicated their intention to launch formal myeloma associations soon.  

Additionally, various local societies offered to work together; educational resources will be provided by the AMN to assist them. For example, the Hong Kong association offered to provide Chinese language patient information materials to their counterparts in China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia.  

Generous support for this event and follow-up activities was provided to the IMF by Amgen, Celgene/Bristol Myers Squibb, Glaxo Smith Kline, and Janssen Oncology. Additional support for the Beijing studio was provided by Beigene, CARSgen, Takeda-China, and Xian Janssen. 

A second AMN Patient Forum to be held in Singapore is being planned for October 2022. Follow-up activities will be reviewed.  

October 17: Inaugural AMN Master Class  

On October 17, the AMN held its inaugural Master Class in a live online format which included over 115 participants who joined virtually.  

Designed to educate young hematologists in Asia, the Inaugural AMN Master Class is co-chaired by IMF Chairman of the Board Dr. Brian G.M. Durie and Dr. Wee Joo Chng (Singapore), with a faculty composed of renowned myeloma experts: Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar (USA), Dr. Thomas Martin (USA), and AMN members, Dr. Masahiro Abe (Japan) and Dr. Kihyun Kim (Korea). 

Faculty members delivered presentations on the current standard of care in myeloma at the global level, followed by practical approaches to myeloma management in Asia. Question-and-answer sessions, as well as a panel discussion on future treatment options in Asia— featuring AMN members Dr. Wenming Chen (China), Dr. James Chim (Hong Kong), Dr. Jeffrey Huang (Taiwan), Dr. Kazuyuki Shimizu (Japan), and Dr. Daryl Tan (Singapore)—were also among the agenda.  

The course concluded with an electronic exam on detailed information from the presentations. The exam was successfully completed by all participants, with each receiving a certificate of achievement for completing the course.  

Generous support for this event was provided to IMF by Amgen, Antengene, Glaxo Smith Kline and Sanofi Genzyme. Additional support for the Beijing studio was provided by Beigene, CARSgen, Takeda-China, and Xian Janssen.  

A second AMN Master Class is being planned for October 2022 in Singapore, including a visit to a myeloma center for hands-on instruction.  

October 23-24: 5th Annual AMN Summit  

On October 23–24, the 5th Annual AMN Summit was held in a live online format, with more than 150 individuals participating virtually across Asia.  

The Summit, co-chaired by Drs. Durie and Chng, provided the opportunity for leading Asian myeloma experts to review recent developments in the myeloma field and to identify areas for action in the coming year.  

On the first day, presentations on frontline therapy (Drs. Rajkumar and Abe), minimal residual disease (Drs. Bruno Paiva, Chen, and Stephen Harding), immune therapies (Drs. Martin and Chng), and relapsed myeloma (Drs. Jean-Luc Harousseau and Kim) were provided by myeloma experts. 

On the second day, the following standing AMN Committees reported their findings:  

  1. Clinical Priorities in Asia (Drs. Chng and Jae Hoon Lee) 
  2. High-Risk Treatment (Drs. Chim and Huang) 
  3. AMN MRD Subcommittee (Drs. Chen and Suporn Chuncharunee) 
  4. Launching CAR T-Cell Trials in Asia (Drs. Martin and Juan Du) 
  5. Asian Patient Support (Drs. Tan and Shimizu).  

In all cases, recommendations were presented for further AMN projects, including next steps for the launch of the AMN virtual Tissue Bank, new clinical trial projects which target high-risk myeloma and use new immune therapies, work to harmonize MRD detection, and a follow-up to the recent AMN Patient Forum.  

Additionally, Dr. Chng reviewed ongoing AMN clinical trial projects while Dr. Chandramouli Nagaranjan reviewed pending proposals for additional projects. Clinical trials have been a highly successful area of AMN’s work, both in providing important research data as well as providing the means for Asian patients to access novel therapies that are otherwise unavailable.  

Finally, as in prior years, the Summit turned its attention to “A Look to the Future” with Dr. Durie providing insights about the direction of myeloma treatment and potential cure globally, and with Dr. Tan providing an Asian perspective including a review of access issues.  

Generous support was provided to IMF for this event by Platinum-level partner Sanofi Genzyme, Gold-level partners Binding Site and Janssen Oncology, Silver-level partners AbbVie, Amgen, and Glaxo Smith Kline, and Local-level partners Celgene/Bristol Myers Squibb (for the Singapore studio) and Beigene, CARSgen, Takeda- China, and Xian Janssen (for the Beijing studio).  

The 6th AMN Summit is being planned, hopefully, as an in-person event in Singapore from October 14–16, 2022.  

(This article was published in the 2022 Winter Edition of the IMF’s quarterly publication, Myeloma Today. Read the full publication here.) 

 

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