The 65th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition provided so much information that I wish I could have been in more than one place at a time. The conference statistics provided by the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) are impressive:

  • Total Attendance 32,000
    • 28,000 in-person attendees
    • 4,000 virtual attendees
  • Total Number of Abstracts: 7,000
  • Myeloma Abstracts: Over 1,000
    • Oral Presentations: 136 + LBA & Plenary
    • Posters: About 850

Following are a few areas of interest that stood out for me:

  • Treatments for Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma (RRMM)
    • CAR T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that uses a patient’s own T cells to make a treatment that targets cancer cells for destruction. This treatment is generally given one time.The first GPCR5D-targeted bispecific antibody has received accelerated approval from the U.S. Federal Drug Administration as a fifth line of treatment for RRMM.
    • There was some discussion about treatment plan options for patients who relapse after receiving CAR T or bispecific lines of treatment. The direction is to not wait for a patient’s relapse to discuss treatment options. Such treatment should be planned and discussed if a patient relapses as a forethought.
  • The iStopMM (Iceland Screens, Treats, or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) Study
    • One of the major objectives of this study is to use blood screening as a way of identifying multiple myeloma (MM).
    • Current findings reveal that screening:
      • Leads to early, not over-detection of MM and related disorders.
      • Changes the clinical presentation of MM.
      • Fundamentally changes the face of MM.
      • Revealed the prevalence of smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) is 0.53% in individuals ages 40 and older, with more than a third of patients having either intermediate or high-risk disease.
      • Study findings were published in “Nature Medicine”.
    • They are looking at psychological factors pertaining to MM patients.
  • The recorded Facebook Live session from ASH 2023 with IMF Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Mikhael and the IMF Myeloma Voices – in-person attendee IMF Support Group Leaders, discussing ASH highlights is a must-see.

Being able to discuss information about the new medications, lines of treatment and what is in the pipeline for the future quality of life for MM patients is so exciting and hopeful. Patient advocacy cannot be more exciting than it is NOW!

— Diane Hunter
Follow me on X (Twitter) @DianeHunterMM