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Reflections Before Opening The Flood Gates Of Technical Multiple Myeloma Related Information From This Year’s ASH

Home/Reflections Before Opening The Flood Gates Of Technical Multiple Myeloma Related Information From This Year’s ASH

Reflections Before Opening The Flood Gates Of Technical Multiple Myeloma Related Information From This Year’s ASH

I wanted to share my thoughts from ASH after a very busy weekend.  On our other daily site, http://www.helpwithcancer.org/, I am reporting about non-multiple myeloma related news from this year’s meetings.  You can imagine how difficult it is to determine which studies are most significant when dealing with dozens and dozens of hematological cancers.  I wrote this on Help With Cancer.org Saturday:

I just finished a brief review of the first poster sessions this afternoon. Close to one hundred posters, all displaying research results for blood related cancers and other disorders.

There is a whole new set available this evening. It is hard for me to pick-out the most important. I can do that for multiple myeloma related studies. But I’m not as technically strong when working with leukemia or lymphoma data.
So I think I can pick out the most important multiple myeloma related studies from among hundreds of poster abstracts?  Let’s see how I did.

Three myeloma related studies specifically caught my eye Saturday afternoon.  The first was a vorinostat and Revlimid combination study which looks promising in heavily pre-treated patient populations.  Another was a trial named Vantage 095, which boasted a 100% initial response rate.  The third was a study about a new, novel therapy agent, ARRY-520.  This one jumped-out at me because ARRY-520 showed promising single agent activity.

Why is single agent activity important?  Because that is what sets Velcade, Revlimid and the much older Thalomid (thalidomide) apart from drugs like doxil, vorinostat and panobinostat.  Doxil, vorinostat and panobinostat are examples of drugs which work best in combination with a stronger, single agent like Velcade or Revlimid.

Its early, but ARRY-520 looks like it may work well by itself as a primary agent.

So how did I do?  This is a subjective type of thing–afterall, it is simply my opinion–and impossible to quantify or measure.

But I did notice last night that I wasn’t the only one who found the ARRY-520 study interesting.  The pharma business community is watching and writing about ARRY-520’s progress.  And you know the old saying:  Follow the money!

RTT Global Financial Newswire featured a story about this kinesin spindle protein inhibitor.  So did the international news service, Business Wire.  Here is what they had to say:

Array BioPharma’s Arry-520 Demonstrates Single Agent Activity in Advanced Multiple Myeloma Patients

BOULDER, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Array BioPharma Inc. (NASDAQ: ARRY) today announced the presentation of positive Phase 1 clinical data for its novel kinesin spindle protein (KSP) inhibitor, ARRY-520. The data, which were presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in Orlando, Florida, indicate that ARRY-520 was well tolerated and has shown encouraging preliminary results in the treatment of multiple myeloma. ARRY-520 is a novel, first-in-class, highly potent, selective KSP inhibitor currently being investigated in a single-agent Phase 2 clinical trial and a Phase 1b combination trial with bortezomib plus dexamethasone in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. The poster is available as a PDF on Array’s website at www.arraybiopharma.com.

“ARRY-520 has shown promising preliminary single agent activity in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma,” said Robert Orlowski, M.D., Ph.D., of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Given the compelling preclinical activity in combination with proteasome inhibitors, we are enthusiastic about its potential both as a single agent and in combination therapy.”

Hold on.  One reason ARRY-520’s poster caught my eye–aside from the fact the Phase 1 response rates looked so promising on the poster–was I had just heard some positive buzz about the drug as I listened to Dr. Orlowski speak at the IMF’s ASH kick-off event Friday night. 

Here is what he said then:  “Arry-520 looks promising because there is no peripheral neuropathy associated with its use… It has had good responses in heavily pre-treated patients so far.”

Which reminds me.  I haven’t finished sharing the last of the information from Friday evening, including Dr. Robert Orlowski’s views on a variety of promising new therapies.  I will post that third installment next.  Did you miss the first two?  Go to:
Live Coverage From IMF’s Multiple Myeloma Expert Panel Discussion Friday, December 3rd from the annual American Society of Hematology Meetings
and/or
More From Friday IMF Panel Discussion About The Latest Developments In Diagnosis, Prognosis & Treatment Of Multiple Myeloma.

Back to my original topic/point.  There is so much technical related info at an event like this is hard to decide which is most important to share with my readers.  After all, therapies which seem most promising now may fizzle, hit snags or fail to gain FDA approval down the road.  And obscure posters or presentations made in small rooms in front of only a dozen or so clinicians–with no one from the media present–may turn-out to be real game changers.

My mission is to help my fellow patients stay current on multiple myeloma related news which may affect their lives now or in the near future.  My heartfelt goal is to help my fellow patients learn how to build an effective health care team, begin to sift through a fast growing array of therapy choices and hopefully, identify the treatment strategy which is right for them.

Most of the research data being released here at ASH doesn’t pass the “help my fellow patients sift through a fast growing array of therapy choices” which will ultimately help you find the right treatment tomorrow, or next month or even next year.

From a patient’s or caregiver’s perspective, this is mostly abstract science.  But I still get “sucked-in!”  Thousands of really smart people, all working together to help us live longer.  Covering an event like this is an amazing experience.  It feels electric.  There is an energy here which you can feel. 

Know what I think the core or essence of that energy is?  Hope.  Real hope that multiple myeloma is becoming a manageable, chronic disease.  Hope that my friends who are high risk patients may live longer some day.  Hope that there may ultimately be a cure.
I like to keep my articles short–too late for that!  I will post my last story about Friday night’s IMF program, featuring Dr. Orlowski, later today.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat