Miles for MyelomaImpact of Gifts
Myeloma is an incurable disease, making research funding critically important. The IU Simon Cancer Center's myeloma team is taking on myeloma in three ways: laboratory research, clinical trial research and patient advocacy.
The biology of myeloma is extremely complicated and varies widely from patient to patient and within the patient, making it an especially difficult disease to treat. Our laboratory research team seeks to better understand myeloma on a cellular level and its relationship to the bone marrow and the bone We want to discover therapies that will target specific characteristics of the disease. For example, we know that because the biological make-up of myeloma cells varies so much between patients, we need drugs that are attack many of the different pathways inside the cells that allow them to survive and to make the supporting environment less hospital for these cells. Dr. Farag recently led a study of a new drug that attacks multiple pathways in myeloma cells using the drug ENMD-2076, and Dr. Suvannasankha recently showed that a known cancer drug called parthenolide is active against some myelomas.
Clinical Trial Research
We work diligently to bring new treatment options to patients through clinical trials. For example, we have recently explored the use of new drugs for patients recently diagnosed with myeloma. We have also designed clinical trials that combine new agents with a novel biologically-driven way of delivering chemo. These studies were well received by our colleagues at the most recent American Society of Hematology meeting. Because we believe that such interaction with other myeloma experts is critical to move research forward more quickly, we partner with others studying myeloma both nationally and internationally through our participation in the Aptium Oncology Myeloma Consortium, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and through Dr. Abonour's participation on the International Myeloma Foundation's International Myeloma Working Group.
Every year, our team sits down with more than 100 new patients and their families and explains to them that they've just been diagnosed multiple myeloma, a cancer most of them have never even heard of. We know that many of our patients feel overwhelmed and alone in their diagnosis, and we know that they need more than the promise of ongoing research. Our Myeloma Support Group meets on the first Monday of each month to help navigate the emotional, social, economical and scientific aspect of the disease. In an effort to improve the quality of life for our patients, we host an annual "Evening for Myeloma Patients and their Families." We invite all of our more than 800 patient families from across Indiana and adjacent states to come together for a dinner that builds camaraderie and friendships among people facing similar battles with a terrible disease. During the dinners, we invite myeloma experts from IU and all across the country to come and speak to our patient families to help them better understand their disease, and - more importantly - what researchers are doing to improve treatment options for myeloma patients.
We also consider Miles for Myeloma to be an important component of our patient advocacy. Every dollar you help us raise translates to hope in the form of continued research.
You can download our myeloma program brochure to learn more about our research and care team and our current research initiatives.