On December 4, upon the occasion of the annual meeting of the American Society for Hematology (ASH), the IMF convened a session of experts from the Asian Myeloma Network (AMN). The meeting was attended by more than 40 participants from AMN countries and regions: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand. In addition, there were guest observers from industry partners Amgen, Binding Site, Celgene, Janssen, and Takeda. IMF Chairman Dr. Brian G.M. Durie presided over the session, assisted by Daniel Navid (IMF Senior Vice President, Global Affairs) who is also the IMF’s coordinator for the AMN. Two main program activities were the focus of discussion.
The first, presented by Dr. Wee Joo Chng of Singapore, was an overview of AMN’s clinical trial projects. These were noted to be significant, both because of the data generated and also because clinical trials were one of the few ways to get the more recent novel agents to patients in Asia.
Dr. Chng reported that AMN001, a pomalidomide access project supported by Celgene, has been substantially completed with over 130 of the expected 140 patients recruited. The results of the project were seen to be excellent, with a response rate for the Asian patients exceeding that in the West. It was announced that AMN002, a trial involving carfilzomib supported by Amgen, as well as AMN003, a follow-up pomalidomide trial supported by Celgene, will both begin in early 2017 as all necessary contracts have been concluded for each.
A series of further trial projects were also presented by Dr. Chng and by AMN member Dr. Satish Kumar Gopalakrishnan. The most imminent are likely to be daratumumab studies sponsored by Janssen.
The second main subject for the meeting was a report on the preparations for the First AMN Summit to be held in 2017 in Korea on October 13–15, and Dr. Jae-Hoon Lee and Mr. Navid described the planning to date. The AMN Summit, the first workshop devoted to myeloma priorities in Asia has generated considerable international interest. Following the model of the IMF’s International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) sessions, it was agreed that the AMN Summit will begin with a series of reviews on five focal areas:
1. Country overviews of myeloma in Asia;
2. MGUS and smoldering myeloma in Asia;
3. Management of newly diagnosed myeloma in Asia;
4. Current and planned clinical trials for newly diagnosed myeloma in Asia; and
5. MRD testing and risk stratification and implementation in Asia.
These would be followed by breakout group discussions with a view to adopt plans of action for the AMN to pursue in the coming year in each of the focal areas. A final session will be devoted to strategic planning for future AMN work.
At the ASH meeting, AMN members also discussed other ongoing projects, including the AMN database and the new work being pursued to include cases of MGUS and smoldering myeloma in Asia, the Asian treatment guidelines to be updated during 2017, and the new AMN website.
Dr. Durie concluded the session by congratulating the group for its many successes during 2016 and noting the opportunities that would be presented for expanding the AMN work in 2017. In this regard the International Myeloma Workshop (IMW) to be held in New Delhi in March 2017 was seen to be especially significant. The group agreed to hold its next ad hoc meeting at that time.