August 10, 2017 Update: Reminder – No August Meeting

August 10, 2017 Update: Just a reminder that we will not be having a meeting in August. We will be taking our traditional August meeting break. For our September meeting (Sept. 9) our speaker will be Dr. Sundar Jagannath from Mt. Sinai speaking about Minimal Residual Disease and liquid biopsies. Enjoy the rest of the summer, everyone. As the song says, See You In September!

July 26, 2017: Phil Falkowitz Is Featured in Two Multiple Myeloma Articles

PMMNG member Phil Falkowitz was recently featured in two published articles about multiple myeloma. “Living 20 years with multiple myeloma: an interview with Phil Falkowitz” appeared in the International Journal of Hematologic Oncology. And in a poignant article, “Living With Cancer Survivorship Guilt,” Phil describes complex feelings he encounters as a long-time multiple myeloma survivor when many of his friends have not been as fortunate.

 

Saturday June 10, 2017: Immunotherapy and its use in the treatment of multiple myeloma

Hello PMMNG Friends,

For our June 2017 meeting Dr. Jack Watkins from Bristol Myers Squibb will be speaking on immunotherapy and its use in the treatment of multiple myeloma. As you may know, immunotherapy is treatment that helps your immune system fight your cancer. (American Cancer Society’s definition of immunotherapy) It is a fast-moving area of research, especially for the treatment of multiple myeloma. In 2015 the first two immunotherapy agents – Darzalex™ (daratumumab, Genmab/Janssen) and Empliciti™ (elotuzumab, Bristol-Myers Squibb/AbbVie) – were approved by the FDA for use in treating relapsed /refractory patients. More immunotherapy agents are in the pipeline.

PMMNG meetings are held the second Saturday of every month (except August), 1:30-3:30 PM, at the Ralston House, 3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA (near the University of Pennsylvania campus).

The “official” start time for the meeting is 1:30, but feel free to come as early as 1:00 since we gather early and chat before meetings. This is an especially good opportunity for newcomers to meet current members and exchange information.

There is free parking behind the building, accessible from Ludlow Street.

 

Saturday May 13, 2017: Mindfulness & Yoga for Cancer Patients

Please note: our May meeting is on May 13, not May 6 as I originally posted. I screwed up big time on the date. Can I blame chemo brain? Mike Burns

Our May meeting will provide information on two activities that can be helpful to cancer patients (as well as to others). Our speakers will be Mara Wei from the Penn Mindfulness Program and Michelle Stortz, a certified Yoga instructor who works with people with cancer and chronic illnesses.

Mara Wai, M.Ed., began training in mindfulness in 2005 with the Penn Program for Mindfulness. Since 2012 she has taught the Penn foundation program and other introductory and advanced mindfulness programs. Mara is also the Associate Director and oversees program development and administration. Additionally, she is a mind-body coach and utilizes mindfulness and other mind-body tools with clients to support them to apply mind-body awareness in pursuit of life goals and in navigating challenges.

Michelle Stortz, C-IAYT, RYT500, MFA, is a certified yoga therapist specializing in yoga for cancer and chronic illness. She teaches in numerous medical settings throughout the Philadelphia area and augments this work with her studies in mindfulness/meditation, Somatics and Reiki.  She leads retreats and group classes and works with individuals in private sessions.

PMMNG meetings are held the second Saturday of every month (except August), 1:30 – 3:30 PM, at the Ralston House, 3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA (near the University of Pennsylvania campus).

The “official” start time for the meeting is 1:30, but feel free to come as early as 1:00 since we gather early and chat before meetings. This is an especially good opportunity for newcomers to meet current members and exchange information.

There is free parking behind the building, accessible from Ludlow Street.

Brian D Novis Award Ceremony Videos

Each year the IMF awards junior and senior research grants to scientists who are devoted to expanding knowledge about multiple myeloma and the potential treatments that can be used.  For many years, the PMMNG has contributed to these grants via our Miles for Myeloma 5K program.

The first video shows clips from the ceremony during the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2016 meeting in December where the 2016 Brian D Novis Research Grant award winners were announced. With the second video, be ready to be inspired as you view the the award winning researchers share what it means to them to receive this research support.

Award Ceremony Video

Grant Awardees Video


Register now for the 2017 Miles for Myeloma 5K and help the IMF fund more researchers to continue progress towards finding a cure for multiple myeloma.

Saturday March 11, 2017: Mary DeRome MMRF’s Precision Medicine Initiative

For this meeting we welcome Mary DeRome, Director of Medical Communications and Education at the MMRF (Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation), who will discuss their Precision Medicine Initiative, the CoMMpass Study which maps patients’ genomic profiles to clinical outcomes, and the CoMMunity Gateway program which enables patients to get news about treatment and connect with others with myeloma. If you can, please bring a dessert to share.

Mary’s slides

For more information about the MMRF’s work, please visit the MMRF’s website.

PMMNG meetings are held the second Saturday of every month (except August), 1:30 – 3:30 PM, at the Ralston House, 3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA (near the University of Pennsylvania campus).

The “official” start time for the meeting is 1:30, but feel free to come as early as 1:00 since we gather early and chat before meetings. This is an especially good opportunity for newcomers to meet current members and exchange information.

There is free parking behind the building, accessible from Ludlow Street.

Saturday February 11, 2017: Adam D. Cohen, MD Highlights from ASH 2016

This month’s program will be a presentation of highlights about Multiple Myeloma research and treatment from the recent annual ASH (American of Society of Hematology) meeting. Our speaker will be  Adam D. Cohen, MD, Assistant Professor and Director of Myeloma Immunotherapy at the Abramson Cancer Center of the U of Pennsylvania. He will also provide a general overview of how immunotherapy is being used in treating myeloma. Lunch will be provided by Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Cohen’s slides

The “official” start time for the meeting is 1:30, but feel free to come as early as 1:00 since we gather early and chat before meetings. This is an especially good opportunity for newcomers to meet current members and exchange information.

PMMNG meetings are held the second Saturday of every month (except August), 1:30 – 3:30 PM, at the Ralston House, 3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA (near the University of Pennsylvania campus).

There is free parking behind the building, accessible from Ludlow Street.

PMMNG Miles For Myeloma Funds Research Grant through the IMF

Recently we were notified by Suzanne Battaglia at the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) that money that we donated to the IMF through our Miles for Myeloma 5K fundraiser has been awarded as a grant to Neelam Bhardwaj, Ph.D., a multiple myeloma researcher in Salt Lake City, UT. Dr. Bhardwaj is in the Hematology / Oncology department at Huntsman Cancer Institute / University of Utah.

Here is information about his research:

Project Title: “Generation and validation of a monoclonal antibody against VISTA for the immunomodulatory therapy of multiple myeloma”
Abstract (layman): Multiple Myeloma (MM) is a blood cancer, which in most cases still remains incurable. The immune system can play an important role in controlling tumor growth and even lead to cures. In particular, the use of checkpoint inhibitors has shown remarkable clinical results for patients with solid tumors by improving the anti-tumor response of the patients’ own T cells. We propose to develop a novel checkpoint inhibitor antibody targeting VISTA, an immunosuppressive protein overexpressed in patients with MM. We will use state-of-the-art technology to develop this antibody and validate its therapeutic potential for the treatment of MM.

Saturday January 14, 2017: Jessica Perrella, MSW – “Emotional and Sexual Effects of Multiple Myeloma Treatments”

Hello PMMNG Friends,

At our January program, Jessica Perrella, MSW, will address the emotional and sexual effects of cancer treatments, specifically for people with multiple myeloma. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions related to sexuality, intimacy, relationships and family dynamics. Jessica is the Director of New Projects and Initiatives at the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia where she also provides emotional support and educational programs for individuals and families affected by cancer.

Slides from Jessica’s presentation

PMMNG meetings are held the second Saturday of every month (except August), 1:30 – 3:30 PM, at the Ralston House, 3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA (near the University of Pennsylvania campus). There is free parking behind the building, accessible from Ludlow Street.

Newcomers are especially welcome.

Saturday December 10, 2016 – Our Annual Holiday Celebration

Hello PMMNG Friends,

The December 10th meeting will be our annual holiday celebration – a time to reflect on the past year and to share hopes and plans for 2017. Everyone will receive a star for their name badge to indicate another year of living with a Myeloma diagnosis. If you can, please bring an appetizer, finger food or dessert to share and enjoy

PMMNG meetings are held the second Saturday of every month (except August), 1:30 – 3:30 PM, at the Ralston House, 3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA (near the University of Pennsylvania campus). There is free parking behind the building, accessible from Ludlow Street.

Newcomers are especially welcome.