These multiple myeloma experts provide care to patients at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center and conduct research at the IU Simon Cancer Center and the IU School of Medicine. Front, L to R: Drs. Suvannasankha, Roodman (seated) and Silbermann.
Back, L to R: Drs. Abonour and Farag.
Myeloma is an incurable disease, making funding for research and patient care critically important. Miles for Myeloma supports myeloma patients in many ways: funding laboratory research, supporting clinical trial research, enhancing patient care and advocating for the overall well-being of patients and families.
The biology of myeloma is extremely complicated and varies widely from patient to patient and within the patient, making it an especially difficult disease to treat. Our laboratory research team seeks to better understand myeloma on a cellular level and to unlock the secrets of the relationship between myeloma cells, the bone marrow and the bone. We want to discover therapies that will target specific characteristics of the disease. For example, we know that because the biological makeup of myeloma cells varies so much between patients, we need drugs that attack many of the different pathways inside the cells that allow them to survive. We also need to make the supporting environment — where the cells live — much less hospitable to myeloma cell growth.
We work diligently to bring new treatment options to patients through clinical trials. For example, we have recently explored the use of new drugs for patients just diagnosed with myeloma. We have also designed clinical trials that combine new agents with a novel biologically driven way of delivering chemotherapy. These studies were well received by our colleagues at an American Society of Hematology meeting.
Because we believe that such interaction with other myeloma experts is critical to move research forward more quickly, we partner with others studying myeloma both nationally and internationally through our participation in the Aptium Oncology Myeloma Consortium and through Dr. Abonour and Dr. Roodman’s participation on the International Myeloma Foundation’s International Myeloma Working Group.
To read more about how Miles for Myeloma funding impacts research, please click here.
Process Navigation for Myeloma Patients
When the myeloma program receives a new patient referral, a patient navigator will help the patient get scheduled quickly, orient them to the location of the clinic, help them understand what to bring and share any important information that will help them better understand what to expect when they arrive for treatment.
Disease Navigation for Myeloma Patients
Receiving a diagnosis of myeloma is challenging and often confusing. To help patients better understand the disease and the treatment options available at IU Health, they will meet with a clinical team member who will help them navigate treatments options, outcomes and expectations. Patients will also:
- Be connected with myeloma support groups in the region to offer them the opportunity to connect and interact with other patients and their families.
- Benefit from information gathered from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the International Myeloma Foundation and their very active patient hotlines.
An illness impacts not only the patient, but also their family—emotionally and often financially. To assist patients and their families during this difficult time, funds have been made available to provide support for basic needs and to offset the costs of parking, mileage and housing. Since some visits may require stays of 2-3 days, this additional support will really help with a patient’s journey of care.
Every year, our team sits down with more than 100 new patients and their families and explains to them that they’ve just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer most of them have never even heard of. We know that many of our patients feel overwhelmed and alone in their diagnosis, and we know that they need more than the promise of ongoing research. IU Health’s CompleteLife program hosts a Myeloma Support Group that meets on the first Monday of each month to help patients navigate the emotional, social, economic and scientific aspects of the disease.
We also consider Miles for Myeloma to be an important component of our patient advocacy. Every dollar you help us raise translates into hope in the form of continued research and enhanced clinical care. In an effort to improve the quality of life for our patients, we also host an annual dinner and education symposium at the finish line of Miles for Myeloma. We invite all patient families from across Indiana and adjacent states to come together for a dinner that builds camaraderie and friendships among people facing similar battles with a terrible disease. During the dinners, myeloma experts from IU and across the country speak to our patient families to help them better understand their disease, their treatment options and what researchers are doing to improve outcomes for myeloma patients.