ASH 2018: Overwhelming But Enriching

Valarie Traynham |

ASH 2018 has come and gone, but the numerous abstracts and information presented will be built upon for many years to come. As a first time attendee to the ASH conference, I found it to be a very enriching experience. The abundance of information was overwhelming and seemed to be too much for me to absorb at first, but I soon found my niche and was on to soaking most of the information up.

I was not only exposed to information about the latest treatments in multiple myeloma for newly diagnosed patients but also to the many treatment options for those with high-risk and relapsed/refractory myeloma. I gained knowledge on the emerging Bi-specific T-cell engagers (also called BiTEs therapy) that is showing promising results in phase one clinical trials.

There were so many highlights and key takeaways from ASH 2018. I can say that one thing that stuck out to me most was how the doctors, scientist, researchers, and pharmaceutical industry are working together to find a cure for multiple myeloma and other blood disorders. One highlight for me was the IMF Satellite Symposium on Friday afternoon. It consisted of a panel of doctors from the United States, France, and Spain. Although they were not always in agreement on how a patient should be treated, due to drug availability, each doctor provided concise and logical reason for their choice.

Another highlight from ASH 2018 was the 2019 Brian D. Novis Grant Award Reception. In addition to being able to share the story of my myeloma journey, I met fellow myeloma warriors Ron Hood and Yolande Paine. It was inspiring to hear their stories. I also had the opportunity to meet Drs. Enrich Milan and Ryosuke Shirasaki both award recipients who are working so diligently towards advancements in myeloma. Meeting Dr. Robert A. Kyle was also a nice unexpected treat.

I left ASH 2018 feeling a bit tired, but more educated and empowered and ready to share the knowledge I gained with others.

My heartfelt thanks to the IMF, Robin Touhy and the many sponsors for making my visit to ASH 2018 possible. Thanks also to my fellow support group leaders for helping me interpret the abundance of information that I took in.

Valarie Traynham

Aurora, IL Multiple Myeloma Networking Group

Follow me on Twitter @MyelomaValarie

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