A good friend of mine, long-lived myeloma survivor Paula Van Riper, was recently featured in an excellent Wall Street Journal article about the recent FDA approvals of Kyprolis and Pomalyst. The IMF’s Medical Director, Dr. Brian Durie, is interviewed, along with Dr. David Siegel, chief of the myeloma division at John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack, N.J. and S. Vincent Rajkumar from Mayo Clinic.
I read medical reports and myeloma related articles everyday. Most of it is junk; something I sift-through for relevant content. Good medical journalism is so hard to find these days. It is always a joy to read content produced by publications like the Wall Street Journal, Cure Magazine and the New York Times.
But this article is not without it’s flaws. For one thing, while discussing peripheral neuropathy(PN), they quote Celgene officials that Revlimid doesn’t cause PN:
A common side effect of some of the older therapies is a painful condition called peripheral neuropathy, which can cause tingling or numbness in fingers and feet. That is not an issue with Revlimid, Celgene says, and many doctors believe that won’t be as much of an issue with Kyprolis and Pomalyst.
I know this isn’t true. My PN has gotten progressively worse–to the point I can’t write and can barely print, my fingers are so stiff and my feet numb and burning–while using Revlimid over the years. And a number of other survivors I have spoken with while visiting myeloma support groups around the country have complained of the same.
Nit-picking aside, journalist Jonathan Rockoff has done a commendable job writing a feature that is informative for the layman as well as experienced readers.
Oh yes, back to Paula. Paula was diagnosed 13 years ago. She is still working a challenging job as an Assistant Dean of Students at Rutgers University in New Jersey. I know her through work we have done together for the IMF, including covering ASH together in Atlanta last December.
Paula is a delight; cheerful and upbeat, fiercely intelligent and full of hope. She was kind enough to forward me a link to the article I can share with you without needing a WSJ subscription. Enjoy:
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat