Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Journey -- Ken McClintock

Hello everyone. I want to thank all of you who have been so thoughtful in answering my questions and providing your support. It really does help to know that others have dealt successfully with the same issues.

I moved to Singapore in 2006 to work on a project. I remained in good health and led an active lifestyle until early August of this year, when my journey began. I had become increasingly bothered over the previous eight months by a longstanding sciatica issue. My regular doctor suggested physio which I tried on a couple of occasions but was never convinced that it had any long term benefit. On the recommendation of someone in my office, I went to see a local Chinese doctor schooled in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and western medicine. He was supposed to be a bit of a miracle worker, and quite a character. A character indeed he was. He reminded me a bit of the nutty professor. His advice was to sit up straight, stand up straight, don’t drink tea or coffee, breath deeply……and get an MRI done!

He arranged for an MRI at a local hospital within the next week. What started off to be what I had thought was a routine MRI to identify which vertebrae was causing the sciatica issue, turned out to be a horrible shock. I was told that I had a tumour on my lumbar vertebrae! My vision of a long and happy retirement immediately vaporized!

Following consultation with my regular doctor, I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon at the National University Hospital (NUH), a large teaching hospital here in Singapore. I was admitted to hospital the next day and underwent a series of tests.

Within the next week, I was redirected to a haematologist/oncologist, as the results of the blood work (and other factors) pointed to MM. Additional blood testing and a bone marrow biopsy confirmed the diagnosis (stage II MM) by the beginning of the next week, at which point I was started on my treatments. The entire process following the first “routine” MRI took two weeks! I was certainly grateful to have been able to get that level of care and service in such a short period of time. As it was, waiting to hear the outcome of the tests within those two weeks was difficult.

My treatments included Dexamethasone, Thalidomide and Velcade, with a host of other peripheral medications to address the side effects, as well as Pamidronate every five weeks. No action was taken related to the lesion on my vertebrae. The consensus was that it would heal itself. I ended up in hospital three times, twice for high fever (38.8 deg) and once for blood clots. Now, after three months of treatment, I am experiencing significant neuropathy.

The good news is that a recent Myeloma panel indicated that I have achieved nCR! Although I will continue with one more cycle of Velcade, my doctor has stopped the Thalidomide. Following my final Velcade cycle, I will also discontinue the dexamethasone. So I should have a good Christmas.

The medical attention I have received in Singapore has been wonderful. The facilities are modern, and the doctors (many trained in the West) and nurses are professional and up to date on latest treatments. Even the hospital food is good. I had three choices each from a Chinese, Western and Muslim menu, for each meal! To top all that, my doctor gave me his cell phone number and told me to call him anytime (24/7), even when he went on his vacation!

Based on my experience to date, I plan to have my stem cell transplant in Singapore. It is planned for February, with collection in January. Following recovery, I will move back to Halifax and enjoy life! I will keep you posted on the progress.

The Multiple Myeloma Handbook for Canadians

The Multiple Myeloma Patient Handbook is available through Myeloma Atlantic FREE of charge and you are invited to request one by sending your request to

Please include your name, full mailng address, telephone number. Right click the cover of the book above for a full view of the Handbook. Tell us what you think of the Handbook by making a comment. People tell me they love it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ken in Singapore

Ken is a Canadian working and living in Singapore where he is undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma. I have asked Ken to stay in touch with us regarding his treatment and his needs. Here's what Ken had to say in a recent email:

Hi Frank

I will be pleased to provide input to the blog as requested. I might pass it by you first to get your feedback on it before posting. As a clarification, I wanted you to know that I did not travel to Singapore specifically to be treated for MM. I came here to work in 2006 and was diagnosed whilst I was here. I did, however, make the decision to remain here for treatment, instead of returning to Canada, which I will address in the writeup.

On another note, I am trying to get an indication of the impacts I can plan for following Stem Cell transplant. I believe I will be in the hospital for about 3 weeks then will be on watch for about 3 months. I then plan to return to Canada afterwards. But I would like to know if there will be a gradual recovery after leaving the hospital (ie…will I be able to golf, exercise, lead a pretty normal life) within one two or three months etc.

I don’t seem to be able to find anything on the websites to help. If you think I can get a response from the blog, I will post it there.

Thanks & Regards Ken

Here's what I wrote back to Ken:

Hi Ken,

I am so pleased to hear from you and that you will provide input; it will be helpful to others as well as yourself. The questions you have posed are great ones. I am told that golf for example is too hard on your bone structure, exercise is encouraged. If you have an lytic lesions those bone structures can be compromised going forward as in the case of my right arm which I lost the use of but which now is back but not as strong as before.

As regards recovery the best approach is not to expect too much from yourself, just ride with it. Your CBC blood counts will be important and at first you can expect to have them monitored daily. At first you will be very weak and you will hope to God that period will pass and it will. My transplant was done in January this year and since July I was back to work full time but I am not typical. You will learn there is nothing typical about MM every single one of us is different. Do you have a caregiver? If not get one as there will be times when you will not be able to think properly. Are you on your own, or is there some one with you, you can trust? This is important.

I need your mailing address I can send to you the Canadian Multiple Myeloma Patient Handbook if you do not have one already. I am sure you are familiar with the International Myeloma Foundation website: You no doubt have the Canadian counterpart Myeloma Canada:

There’s a great site on what you can expect from the chemo impact on your body. One I know to be excellent is: Ken for side effects after transplant please review:

If you are going to be using Neupogen in the collection stage you might want to know about it, here’s a site that might help:

Start with this and if I can help in any other way I will. Regarding your postings, send them to me by email and I will post them for you in your own words in a full page or pages. Members have expressed concern to me about you being away from home and they want to help. Some may have emailed you already, I hope you don’t mind they want to follow your treatment to make sure you are safe and they also will lend assistance where they think they can. They need to know what’s happening with you, so keep your postings coming.

Whenever you are ready I’ll post your comments, observation and plot the course of your recovery and I know they will post thoughts and considerations to help you or they will email you directly. I hope this is helpful.

All the Best,


If anyone has further suggestions for Ken please post as a comment below or email them to me and I will post your comments or suggestions on a page.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Approach to Multiple Myeloma - The Canadian Perspective


Dr. Donna E. Reece,

Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada

Every year, about 2,000 Canadians are diagnosed with multiple myeloma (4 per every 100,000 people). So we estimated that in any year, about 6,500 people are living with this disease. The median age of multiple myeloma patients is about 65 years, although its incidence in younger adults appears to be increasing.

There are a number of factors which determine which drugs are available in Canada for treating multiple myeloma. First, to be used in Canada, the drug must be approved by Health Canada as safe and effective. Second, in order that people can access the medication, there must be funding by the provincial health insurance programs. Myeloma drugs currently approved for use in Canada include melphalan, cyclophosphamide, bisphosphonates (pamidronate, zoledronic acid and clodronate), Velcade (bortezomib) for front-line combination therapy or second-line therapy and lenalidomide (Revlimid). Thalidomide can be obtained through special access programs.

Traditionally, initial therapy for multiple myeloma has been to decide between autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) or melphalan and prednisone. Editor note: See Table summary above (Right Click Image above to Enlarge) The paper was presented at the Ortho Biotech Multiple Myeloma Patient Advisory Board Conference at the past weekend in Toronto, Ontario. Address your congratulations to: the Manager National Community Relations: Ms. Sue Robson, R.N. at

ASCT Eligible Patients:

New approaches before ASCT are being investigated to see if achieving high rates of CR/nCR or VGPR (very good partial response) prior to transplant will improve outcomes. Multiple induction regimens containing novel agents are being tested. Canadian trials include DBd (Doxil + Velcade + dexamethasone) and CYBORD-D (cyclophosphamide + Velcade + dexamethasone).

Studies are also under way looking at the best way to treat patients with specific genetic mutations. The translocation t(4;14) mutation, in which parts of chromosomes 4 and 14 incorrectly attach to one another, occurs in 15% of myeloma patients, frequently among younger individuals with the IgA lambda subtype. It is often associated with another genetic mutation (13q deletion). When this mutation is present, although the myeloma may respond well to therapy it also relapses quickly, which makes it an aggressive disease to treat. In cases of relapse, the disease appears to respond better to either bortezomib or lenalidomide. For this reason, a trial is currently underway among newly-diagnosed myeloma patients that involves induction therapy with bortezomib, doxorubicin and dexamethasone for 4 cycles, followed by CYBOR-P for 8 cycles and dexamethasone maintenance therapy. ASCT is not performed as part of initial therapy in this trial, due to the strong activity of Velcade in this subtype of myeloma. Another mutation that is currently being studied is TP53, in which a copy of a tumour suppressor gene is missing. TP53 deletion occurs in a number of forms of cancer, including myeloma.

"Transplant Uncertain" Patients"

A number of trials are looking at induction therapy in "transplant uncertain" patients. This approach most commonly has used continuous suppression with immunomodulatory agents (IMiDs, such as thalidomide or lenalidomide) and dexamethasone. The ECOG trial used thalidomide and dexamethasone; the overall response rate was 63% with a CR rate of 8% and the median time to progression was 22 months. The ECOG E4A03 study compared Revlimid and either high or low doses of dexamethasone. Although the overall response rate was better in the higher-dose dexamethasone group (82% vs. 71 %), there were also more early deaths. The optimal dose of dexamethasone, therefore, remains uncertain although we know that continuous full dose appears detrimental. In a small subset of patients in the ECOG E4A03 trial who subsequent underwent ASCT, results were similar between the two groups. However, it must be kept in mind that the comparison between Revlimid plus dexamethasone and ASCT was not studied in a randomized fashion.

Another approach for "transplant uncertain" patients has been the use of 6-8 cycles of combination regimens that usually contain chemotherapy drugs with novel agents such as thalidomide, velcade and/or Revlimid, followed by a treatment break. This approach has not been as well-studied, and the results compared to ASCT are unknown at present.

Melphalan-based Approaches

A number of studies have combined traditional melphalan + prednisone (MP) therapy with other agents. Three, including the IFM 99-06 trial, found that in elderly patients adding thalidomide makes the therapy more effective. In another trial, it was found that adding Velcade also increased the effectiveness of therapy, compared to MP alone. However, adding thalidomide or Velcade also increases toxicities or side-effects, such as low white blood counts, blood clots or peripheral neuropathy.

At this point, it's not known whether adding a novel agent (such as thalidomide or Velcade) is as effective as when you give it during initial therapy or later, after relapse. More evidence is needed on how to proceed with high-risk patients, such as those with specific genetic mutations. Recent Canadian trials include the NCIC MY 11
study, an Ortho Biotech trial of melphalan, prednisone and Velcade (bortezomib) and the Celgene MM020 international trial (comparing three regimens: lenalidomide + weekly dexamethasone until progression, lenalidomide + weekly dexamethasone for 18 months, vs. MP + thalidomide).


New agents and combinations are becoming available for all age groups and are contributing to better survival for myeloma patients. The optimal approach for induction and disease progression has yet to be defined, however. We suspect that different approaches may be needed for different patient groups (e.g., those with and without specific genetic mutations). Research is trying to match the best therapy with the different disease sub-types. Funding limitations remain a problem; access programs and clinical trials are means by which patients may obtain new medications before public funding is provided.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Barbara Hammack Survivor Story I'M A SURVIVOR!

Editor's note: I have exchanged emails with Barbara, who has agreed to allow Myeloma Atlantic to re-produce her heroic story and Barbara also promises an update on her battle with Multiple Myeloma, one with which we are all too familiar. Therefore, dear readers, expect more from Barbara.

Barbara Hammack
August 2007

Whenever I am privileged to speak to a newly-diagnosed myeloma patient, I always start by saying, "I was diagnosed in 1991." Once they quit gasping, I know I have already given them they hope they need.

Nothing can prepare someone for learning they have an incurable disease, much less one that they had never even heard of. I was first told that I had a "suspicious" high protein level in July 1991. My internist had been following this level since I had become his patient in 1987 (my previous doctor never included protein levels in his blood work for me). Then I heard "smoldering multiple myeloma" for the first time as a "possible" diagnosis. I really didn't understand much then, but the only literature available back in those "dark ages" said that I had a 1 - 3 year survival chance. This was totally unacceptable to me, since I was only 45 and was a single parent to two children. So, in February of 1994 when the myeloma reached a point when it needed to be treated, I knew I was in for the fight of my life.

In 1994, the only chemotherapy regime was melphalan and prednisone. Once that worked, my oncologist said that the only hope for a longer survival would come from a bone marrow transplant, still considered "experimental" by many people, including insurance companies. So I fought my insurer and won THAT battle. When I entered Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC in November 1994, they advised that I also do a very new component: have my stem cells transplanted as well as my bone marrow. Now, in hindsight, I was truly a pioneer for one of the biggest tools today in the myeloma arsenal. But then, all I cared about was winning my own battle.

Which, at least as of now, I am continuing the good fight. It's been the typical roller coaster that many people use to characterize their experiences with myeloma. My transplant kept me out of trouble until 2001, when I began taking thalidomide. After eight months, my disease was under control, and since I'd started to have some very minor neuropathy, I stopped taking it. Then in September 2003, with some indication of disease progression, I went on a new protocol using melphalan, arsenic trioxide, and ascorbic acid (MAC). Again, this worked quite well and I stopped this combination in June 2004. But, as always is the case with myeloma, I again needed treatment and began taking revlimid/dexamethasone in October 2005.

Up and down; down and up. Revlimid was discontinued in June of 2006, and I went coasting along, with no treatment other than monthly aredia, until just recently. Though my M-spike and IgG are relatively low, these counts have been steadily progressing for several months. My oncologist's strategy with me is to always keep me out of danger, so I will start taking just Revlimid in the next few weeks. He and I agree that this should be the most benign of the plethora of treatment options; knowing that there are so many more tricks to pull of out that great myeloma hat as I need them.

In fact, I'd say that the biggest thing I've been able to appreciate over the years is how much the treatment of myeloma has changed from my first encounter some 16 years ago. My oncologist told me several years ago that every six months of life buys a new treatment, and he is pretty much on target. I've watched that "1 - 3 year survivable" rate extend to the point where NO ONE knows how long myeloma patients will live because we are all just starting to live longer and longer. To look at the "end point" is having tunnel vision, and wasting energy that could be used to, well, just get about one's life.

Of course, life with myeloma isn't the same as life before we ever heard those words. But then again, life is constantly changing, and we are always in flux as we adjust to having a baby, having an empty nest, having a job promotion, deciding to know, all that "normal" stuff. I've learned not to get too far ahead of myself, and to try to remember what TODAY'S problems are, rather than playing the "what if" game. Life does indeed go on...the sun still comes up every day, whether we have myeloma or not. On the mornings when I decide that I might as well get up (is there a choice??) I can usually find something that makes that day worthwhile.

We CAN survive myeloma; some of us for a very long time. I'm all for living with myeloma instead of dying from it. I truly don't know what else to do.

Copyright 2007

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phase 2 Study of Patients with Multiple Myeloma

Celgene Corporation and Acceleron Pharma Initiate Phase 2 Study of ACE-011 in Patients with Multiple Myeloma

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – October 16, 2008 – Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) and Acceleron Pharma, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics that modulate the growth of tissues including bone and muscle, today announced the initiation of a Phase 2 clinical study of its lead compound ACE-011 in patients with multiple myeloma. ACE-011 is being developed to treat bone loss associated with multiple myeloma and other cancers. The clinical study is designed to assess the safety and efficacy of ACE-011 in multiple myeloma patients with osteolytic bone lesions. Celgene Corporation will make a $5 million milestone payment to Acceleron in accordance with the terms of the collaboration agreement between the two companies.

“We are excited to begin the first ACE-011 Phase 2 study in multiple myeloma patients suffering from cancer-related bone loss,” said Matthew Sherman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Acceleron. “We have encouraging results from Phase 1 studies with ACE-011, and believe that it holds promise as a novel bone-forming agent to treat the serious and debilitating effects of bone loss resulting from progression of tumors in myeloma or other cancers. Acceleron plans to present results from the Phase 1 studies at scientific and medical conferences later this year.”

The Phase 2, multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is designed to assess the safety and efficacy of multiple doses of ACE-011 in multiple myeloma patients with osteolytic bone lesions. The study will be a multi-center trial conducted in Russia and patients will be treated with standardized anti-myeloma therapy consisting of melphalan, prednisone and thalidomide and randomized to receive either monthly doses of ACE-011 or placebo for up to three months. This study is funded in part by a grant from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

About ACE-011

ACE-011, a soluble form of the activin receptor type IIA (ActRIIA), is a biologic therapeutic that inhibits signaling through the ActRIIA receptor. By blocking signaling though ActRIIA, ACE-011 stimulates bone formation. In numerous animal models of diseases involving bone loss, ACE-011 significantly increased bone mineral density, improved bone architecture, increased bone formation rate and bone mechanical strength. In Phase 1 clinical studies in healthy volunteers, ACE-011 had an encouraging safety profile, increased biomarkers of bone formation and increased bone mineral density. ACE-011 is being jointly developed by Acceleron and Celgene Corporation for the treatment of cancer-related bone loss.

About Multiple Myeloma and Metastatic Bone Disease

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood in which malignant plasma cells are overproduced in the bone marrow. When functioning normally, plasma cells are part of the immune system that helps fight infection and disease. In multiple myeloma, the malignant plasma cells form tumors that affect the function of the bone marrow and cause damage to the surrounding bone. This bone damage leads to severe bone pain and fractures of the bone which are disabling and often require surgery or radiation therapy.

Metastatic bone disease is a serious complication that develops when solid tumors metastasize, or spread, from the originally affected organ to bone. These tumors secrete factors in the bone allowing tumor proliferation and causing debilitating bone lesions. Many patients with breast or lung cancer will have tumors that metastasize to the bone and these patients will suffer from severe bone pain and fractures.

About Celgene/Acceleron Collaboration

On February 20, 2008, under the terms of the agreement, Celgene and Acceleron announced that they will jointly develop, manufacture and commercialize Acceleron’s products for bone loss. Celgene made an upfront payment to Acceleron of $50 million, which included a $5 million equity investment in Acceleron. In addition, in the event of an initial public offering of Acceleron, Celgene will purchase a minimum of $7 million of Acceleron common stock.

Acceleron is responsible for initial activities including research and development through the end of Phase 2a clinical trials as well as manufacturing the clinical supplies for these studies. In turn, Celgene will conduct the Phase 2b and Phase 3 clinical studies and will oversee the manufacture of Phase 3 and commercial supplies. Acceleron will pay a share of the development expenses and is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestones of up to $510 million for the ACE-011 program and up to an additional $437 million for each of the three discovery stage programs. Both companies will co-promote the products in North America. Acceleron will receive tiered royalties on worldwide net sales.

About Celgene

Celgene Corporation, based in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through gene and protein regulation. For more information, please visit the Company's website at

About Acceleron

Acceleron is a privately held biopharmaceutical company committed to discover, develop, manufacture and commercialize novel biotherapeutics that modulate the growth of bone, muscle, fat and the vasculature to treat musculoskeletal, metabolic and cancer-related diseases. Acceleron’s scientific approach takes advantage of its unique insight into the regenerative powers of the Growth and Differentiation Factor (GDF) family of proteins. ACE-011, a novel bone forming agent, is the Company’s lead program and is being developed to reverse bone loss in diseases such as cancer-related bone loss. In addition, the company is advancing through preclinical development product candidates that increase muscle mass, control angiogenesis and inhibit fat accumulation. Acceleron utilizes proven biotherapeutic technologies and capitalizes on the company’s internal GMP manufacturing capability to rapidly and efficiently advance its therapeutic programs. The investors in Acceleron are Advanced Technology Ventures, Bessemer Ventures, Flagship Ventures, MPM BioEquities, OrbiMed Advisors, Polaris Ventures, QVT Financial, Sutter Hill Ventures and Venrock. For more information, visit


Acceleron Pharma:

Steven Ertel, 617-649-9234 Paul Kidwell (Media)

Vice President, Corporate Development Suda Communications LLC, tel: 617-296-3854

Celgene Corporation:

Greg Geissman, 908-673-9854

Associate Director, Public Relations

NEW ORAL THERAPY FOR blood cancer approved in Canada

Unprecedented Overall Survival Data for Revlimid® gives Renewed Hope to Multiple Myeloma
Patients with Advanced Disease

OAKVILLE, ON – (October 6, 2008) – Health Canada has approved Revlimid® (lenalidomide), a new treatment with proven ability to increase overall survival and slow disease progression, in combination with dexamethasone, for the treatment of multiple myeloma patients who have received at least one therapy. Prior to approval, there were few effective, once-daily oral treatment options available for patients with this aggressive blood cancer.

"The clinical data shows that patients treated with Revlimid and dexamethasone have superior response rates and for a longer duration, experience slower progression of disease, and survive longer than we have ever seen before,” said Dr. Darrell White, Hematologist, Nova Scotia Cancer Centre, Dalhousie University. “This Health Canada approval means that we can now treat many more patients with this incurable form of cancer.”

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a rare, progressive and fatal blood cancer with significant morbidity and mortality[i]. Incidence increases with age and median age at diagnosis is between 63 and 70 years of age. Of the estimated 6000 Canadians suffering with the disease, approximately 1000 will die this year and 2000 new patients will be diagnosed at treatment centres across Canada.

“There is no cure for multiple myeloma, but new oral cancer therapies, like Revlimid, are a step towards changing multiple myeloma into a manageable chronic disease and thus improving patient quality of life,” said Dr. White.

“Revlimid, a once-daily pill, is the only treatment that was able to control my cancer after many attempts, including bone marrow transplants,” said Derek Hunter, a multiple myeloma patient from Saint John, New Brunswick who was diagnosed in 2003. “My greatest hope is that other patients will be given the same chance at life by having access to this great treatment.”

The Health Canada approval was based on the results of two Phase III clinical trials, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, evaluating Revlimid with dexamethasone in previously treated multiple myeloma patients which showed an increased overall survival rate and slowed disease progression[ii]. Revlimid will be available in 15 mg and 25 mg oral capsules for the treatment of multiple myeloma after one prior therapy.


REVLIMID is an IMiDs® compound, a member of a proprietary group of novel immunomodulatory agents. REVLIMID and other IMiDs compounds continue to be evaluated in over 100 clinical trials in a broad range of hematological and oncological conditions. The IMiDs pipeline is covered by a comprehensive intellectual property estate of issued and pending patent applications in the US, EU and other regions, including composition-of-matter and use patents.
About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer and represents approximately 1% of all cancers and 2% of all cancer deaths. The Canadian Cancer Society reports that there are about 6000 Canadians living with multiple myeloma, and approximately 2000 new cases are diagnosed each year.[iii]

Multiple myeloma (also known as myeloma or plasma cell myeloma) is a cancer of the blood in which malignant plasma cells are overproduced in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are white blood cells that help produce antibodies called immunoglobulins that fight infection and disease. However, most patients with multiple myeloma have cells that produce a form of immunoglobulin called paraprotein (or M protein) that does not benefit the body. In addition, the malignant plasma cells replace normal plasma cells and other white blood cells important to the immune system. Multiple myeloma cells can also attach to other tissues of the body, such as bone, and produce tumors. The cause of the disease remains unknown.

About Celgene

Celgene Corporation is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through gene and protein regulation. For more information, please visit the Company's website at Revlimid is a registered trademark of Celgene Corporation.

Revlimid® was granted the Prix Galien USA 2008 Award for Special Therapeutic Development on September 24, 2008. The Prix Galien Award recognizes the technical, scientific and clinical research skills necessary to develop innovative medicines and is considered to be the highest accolade for pharmaceutical research and development.

[i] Canadian Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute of Canada. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2008. Accessed October 1, 2008 at
[ii] New England Journal of Medicine, November 22, 2007
[iii] Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2008.

Media Contacts:
Tara Knight / Celeste Brown
Hill & Knowlton Canada
(416) 413-4774 / (416) 413-4651 /
MYELOMA CANADA ENDORSES HEALTH CANADA’S APPROVAL OF REVLIMID Revlimid signals new hope for Canadians with bone marrow cancer
Today marked a major step forward for the Canadian myeloma community with Health Canada’s approval of Revlimid in combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of multiple myeloma patients with relapsed or refractory disease.Myeloma Canada issued the following press release endorsing this long-anticipated decision by Health Canada. Attached is the press release issued by Celgene, the manufacturer of Revlimid.Myeloma Canada will continue to monitor further developments as Revlimid makes it way through the Joint Oncology Drug Review (JODR) process. For information on JODR, please click on the following link:

MONTREAL, QC – (October 6, 2008) – Myeloma Canada endorses Health Canada’s decision to approve Revlimid® (lenalidomide), a new treatment for multiple myeloma, clearly demonstrating their commitment to fighting this incurable form of cancer. Revlimid is an oral medication that has demonstrated an ability to extend overall survival of multiple myeloma patients and slow the progression of the disease for patients who have failed other treatments.

“Health Canada’s approval of Revlimid is welcome news for Canadians living with multiple myeloma,” says Myeloma Canada President John Lemieux. “Scientific advances in treatments of blood disorders are helping patients live much longer and have a better quality of life. We are extremely pleased to hear about this approval as it supports doctors in providing the best possible care to all patients.”

About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cell, is an incurable but treatable disease. The cancer starts in plasma cells, which are made in the bone marrow, and develop into antibodies that help fight infections. In myeloma, abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, grow uncontrollably, crowding out the normal blood cells in the bone. This can bring symptoms such as fatigue, recurrent infections and pain resulting from bone fractures, which disturb the body’s balance of minerals and prevent other organs, such as the kidney and nerves, from working properly. In Canada, approximately 2,000 people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma every year.
Myeloma Canada
Myeloma Canada is a non-profit organization, with registered charity status dedicated to supporting people living with multiple myeloma and is the only national organization exclusively devoted to the Canadian myeloma community. The mission of Myeloma Canada is to: provide educational resources and support to patients, families, and caregivers; increase awareness of the disease; and promote improved access to new therapies, treatment options, and health care resources. Myeloma Canada works with regional support groups and key myeloma experts to strengthen the voice of the Canadian myeloma community. Myeloma Canada works in close affiliation with the International Myeloma Foundation, the world’s oldest and largest myeloma organization. For more information or to find out how you can help please visit our website at
Canada / Myélome Canada
Uniquely devoted to Canada's myeloma communityExclusivement au service de la communauté canadienne du myélome
Mailing Address/Adresse postale:
PO Box / CP 326
Kirkland, QC,
H9H 0A4
(514) 570-9769