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YOU can help the IMF collect and study important data to ensure that the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time!

By Lynn K. Green, Ed.D.
IMF Senior Vice President, Philanthropy

Patients have always been the primary focus of the IMF’s mission: to improve the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure. Patients are at the center of all IMF initiatives, ranging from education to research that will enhance their quality of care and outcomes.;

IMF programs have made and continue to make significant advances and improvements in the lives of myeloma patients across our four founding principles: Research, Education, Support, and Advocacy.

Myeloma is the second-most common blood cancer diagnosed in the United States. It is a very complicated disease and must be approached from multiple directions in order to be treated successfully.

Recent advances in novel therapies have significantly improved the treatment outcomes for patients with myeloma; however, most myeloma patients eventually will become resistant to therapies and consequently relapse. This highlights an unmet need to develop better treatments to improve patient outcomes.

Novel immunotherapies

B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is a term that is very relevant in myeloma. BCMA is an antigen that is present on nearly all myeloma cells, and it is being used as a target for myeloma therapies.

An ideal target is one that is present on the myeloma cell but not on the healthy cells around it. That is one of the attractive features of BCMA – it is heavily expressed on cancer cells and allows the cancer cells to be targeted without affecting the good cells.

BCMA is a very special target on myeloma cells because many other targets disappear once the patient has received treatment. BCMA stays preserved, which offers the opportunity over time to apply different types of BCMA drugs.

In fact, there are three primary immunotherapies that target BCMA – antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), bispecific therapy, and CAR T-cell therapy. As we look to the future, there will be the opportunity to match the right treatment to the right patient and at the right time.

ADCs, bispecifics, and CAR T-cell immunotherapies will transform the treatment landscape and patient outcomes in myeloma and will soon gain widespread use as part of routine clinical care. As immunotherapies are developed, both the optimal patient population for each treatment and the ideal sequence of each therapy will not be known; data will be needed to answer these questions.

IMWG clinical database study

The IMF’s International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) researchers will create the first GLOBAL clinical database study to prospectively collect data from patients with relapsed and/or high-risk disease who will be treated with immunotherapies. Data will be captured from the date of diagnosis and will be updated at least every 6 months.

The study will include approximately 6,000 patients from study sites worldwide. The database will be housed in a secured FDA and HIPAA-compliant online format with restricted access. AXIOM, a leading provider of FDA-compliant clinical databases and data management services, will help to build and maintain the master electronic database.

Study goals

The proposed database will permit the IMWG to examine both patient and disease characteristics to better understand the best candidates for each novel immunotherapy and to better understand how and in which sequence these therapies are best used in practice. The application of these novel therapies and the results achieved will help inform future research and clinical practice – in turn addressing the unmet need to identify more effective myeloma treatments to improve patient outcomes. Most importantly, the data will ensure that the right patient is getting the right treatment at the right time.

We’re making progress!

The IMF is making great strides in improving the outcomes for myeloma patients and moving toward a cure. The IMWG provides a transformational platform for global myeloma experts to join forces.

This revolutionary model fosters harmonization and collaboration between researchers and clinicians from multiple institution and offers a unique opportunity to make significant progress forward in the understanding and treatment of myeloma.

In addition, the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI) has taken the first steps to identify curative treatments in subsets of myeloma patients, as well as studying recurrent and resistant disease to develop novel treatment protocols.

With these efforts, the IMF is changing the landscape of research and treatment of myeloma... but there is still work to be done. With dedicated philanthropic support, the IMF will change the trajectory of this disease. We hope that you will consider partnering with us to lead the way to a better future and a better today for myeloma patients and their families.

YOU can play a vital role in improving treatment of patients with myeloma by becoming a philanthropic partner with the IMF. Join us in finding the cure for myeloma by making a philanthropic contribution today! For more information, please contact Lynn Green at [email protected] or 1 (334) 332-0888.

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

 

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