Pat Killingsworth Pat Killingsworth

Reflections from A Long Day at ASH – Part Two

Have you had time to digest all of the numbers about new therapy options I threw at you this morning?  GOOD!  Because I have a lot more information for you now. There is no way one guy can cover everything that’s going on here.  Check that.  My Myeloma Beacon editor, Boris, may come close! But what I can do is pass along my patient perspective–something that most medical writer’s can’t do. So I will continue you bits and pieces about what I feel is important here at ASH, along with the human interest side of things. Back to the numbers.  ClaPD (clarithramycin, pomalidomide and dex) therapy in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma looks promising. Clarithromycin (Biaxin) is often used in BiRD therapy combo. In this study, patients had all relapsed and received prior Revlimid therapy.  In total, there were 100 heavily pre-treated patients–a lot for an independent study of this type–and over half had high-risk cytergenetics.  While being refractory to Revlimid was not a requirement to participate in the study, most patients were. 57% achieved some type of response.  The encouraging news: No difference in response between high and standard risk patients. Progression free survival (PFS) was a short 8.5 months.  Enough patients haven’t died yet to come-up with OS data. But these are hopeful results, especially for high risk patients!  The bottom line: Adding clarithromycin to pom/dex mix significantly increases effectiveness. Now let’s take a look at a mysterious, exotic therapy from Asia.  The presenter was Dr. Wenming Chen from China.  He was very difficult to understand.  But I could glean that ths new drug was the first myeloma drug to be developed and tested exclusively in China. Called CPT, Phase II trial data showed the drug was well tolerated in humans and did appear to have significant anti-myeloma activity. 29 patients started the study and 21 finished.  They received eight doses.  Most patients responded after one or two cycles.  Apparently it worked best in patients that had already used Velcade.  48.5% responded, with 33% achieving CR or VGPR. My impression was that while patients were relapsed, this patient population was not as heavily pretreated as most U.S. studies.  Others seated nearby felt the same way. So is this mysterious Chinese compound a cure?  Probably not.  But their numbers stand-up well when compared to others I’ve seen. I’m going to stop here.  Next up, news from the IMF’s International Journalists press conference Sunday night. And I may break-in with some news from today’s meetings, including Dr. Berenson report that he was excited about last week: substituting Kyprolis for Velcade in refractory patients.  He hinted the numbers would be surprisingly good… Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat