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Good Morning From ASH – Day Four

Posted on December 07 2009 by Pat Killingsworth | 589 views

Carfilzomib. Can you hear/feel the “buzz?” The halls and Internet are filled with exciting news about this new proteasome inhibitor. Carefully planned by a new, large corporate owner, Onyx, the new drug is definitely the darling of this year’s ASH. It all starts with a well-placed, impressive booth here at the conference. Literature everywhere. Press releases. A grand reception/galla last evening–the beer was cold and the food was great! (I only had one–really!) This morning at 7 am, clinical trials were read and press releases flooded the wires. Why 7 am? To dominate the Monday am newscycle, of course! I could link you to a number of different Carfilzomib press releases. I will do that eventually, of course. But a prudent reporter and patient needs to let the food, beer, and dust settle a bit in order to clearly assess the real world potential and application of this new drug. Onyx claims the drug will help myeloma patients with relapsed and/or refractory myeloma. But the company also says it is fabulous for newly diagnosed patients as well! Yesterday I was a bit down as I began to realize just how long it may take some of these new myeloma wonder drugs like Carfilzomib and Vorinostat to become FDA approved. Lots of sizzle, but things could still be delayed–or go wrong–in the approval process. But after talking with Associate Director of Corporate Communications, Lori Murray, last evening, she stressed Carfilzomib may be available for use by patients with refractory (disease that is resistant to other therapies) multiple myeloma as early as 2011.

If Carfilzomib works half as well as Onyx claims, and if it truly will be available for use by my fellow myeloma patients (that could be me!) who are running out of other options, then all of the hype and buzz are well deserved indeed!

Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope–no pray–that Onyx researchers are as effective as their PR spin machine. Bottom line: Despite my critical, cynical eye where Onyx and Carfilzomib is concerned, I can’t help but be encouraged and feel good about the potential of this new myeloma drug. The early data is very impressive!

Feel good, keep smiling and be hopeful! Pat

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