Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Holds First Patient Summit in Denver

Inês Martins, PhD avatar

by Inês Martins, PhD |

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The first-ever Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Patient Summit was held March 25 in Denver to help patients and caregivers learn more about the cancer.

The MMRF Patient Summit was free of charge for participants. The event was chaired by Robert Rifkin, MD, from the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, a partner in the organization. Rifkin was joined by other myeloma experts to discuss a series of issues related to the disease.

“Our MMRF Patient Summits empower patients and their caregivers by arming them with knowledge they need for the best possible outcome, said Anne Quinn Young, MPH, MMRF’s senior vice president of marketing and communications, in a press release. “Dr. Rifkin of the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers is a long-time collaborator and we are thrilled to partner with him on this important program,” she said.

The summit covered several topics related to myeloma, including treatment options for different stages of the disease and for newly diagnosed patients, stem cell transplantation, relapsed/refractory myeloma, clinical trials, care options, symptom management, and side effects.

The MMRF’s mission is to find a cure for multiple myeloma by pursuing innovation that accelerates the development of next-generation treatments to extend the lives of patients. This objective also was debated at the event, together with a questions-and-answers session.

The summit also was attended by Bruce and Kathy Elsey of Dr. Elsey’s Products. When Kathy Elsey was diagnosed with myeloma, she and her husband Bruce decided to combine their corporate success with a philanthropic cause – a commitment to cure cancer. They established the Dr. Elsey’s Fund to Cure Cancer to support the MMRF’s mission; since 2009 it has raised nearly $17 million, according to the fund’s website

“We (were) honored to have (the Elseys) as patient speakers at our Denver Patient Summit. They are an extraordinary inspiration to our organization, and we are grateful for the impact they have had in terms of generating much-needed funding to fuel new treatments and cures for patients, as well as help to educate the public about the mission of the MMRF to fuel innovation, foster collaboration and speed clinical trials,” Young added.

The MMRF was founded by sisters Kathy Giusty and Karen Andrews in 1998 as a non-profit organization. Since its launch, the organization has raised more than $330 million, directing nearly 90% of the total funds to research and related programs.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cell. According to the press release, the MMRF estimates that 30,280 adults (17,490 men and 12,790 women) in the U.S. were diagnosed with the disease in 2016.