National Myeloma Day - MAY 18
Your Immune System: Friend and Foe is this year’s theme for National Myeloma Day (NMD) 2016.
- Many new therapies involve manipulating the immune system to treat myeloma.
- Supporting your immune system can help you to avoid infections.
- Myeloma is a cancer of the immune system.
There have been many advances in treating myeloma but the ultimate aim is to cure this blood cancer. That’s the focus of National Myeloma Day (NMD) 2016, which gives approximately 6000 Australians living with this disease the chance to meet others and increase their knowledge about myeloma.
Major advances in treating different blood cancers over the last decade include a new wave of treatments for myeloma, and immunotherapy – one of the latest and most exciting forms of treatment – is aimed at supporting the immune system to beat this disease.
Drugs that support the immune system against myeloma include daratumumab and elotuzumab, which belong to a family of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. They bind to specific markers on myeloma cells, thereby flagging them to be killed by a group of immune cells, called ‘natural killer cells’.
Australian research funded by the Leukaemia Foundation is looking at how to train T-cells to recognise and then kill myeloma cells.
Research indicates that the immune systems of myeloma patients may play an important role in why some patients survive much longer than others too.
For those living with myeloma and the 1700 additional people newly diagnosed with myeloma in the last year, the Leukaemia Foundation has a calendar of NMD events across Australia. You are encouraged to see what’s happening in your region and to get involved.
Objectives of National Myeloma Day
The objectives of this special day – 18 May – and NMD activities held throughout the month of May are to:
- bring together and support people who are affected by myeloma;
- provide information on current and developing treatments;
- provide information and assistance on where people with myeloma, their families and friends, can source further support to help meet their educational and psychosocial needs.
National Myeloma Day 2016 events
National Myeloma Day events are being held across Australia. Find out about activities in your region or call the Leukaemia Foundation on 1800 620 420.
We encourage you to get involved – here’s how.
- Promote myeloma awareness in your community and recognise National Myeloma Day by buying a commemorative ‘Myeloma Aware’ badge for $5, or a myeloma ribbon for a gold coin donation. These can be worn by people with myeloma, their family and friends, and are available from the Leukaemia Foundation office in your state. The proceeds from these sales support our National Research Program and extensive support services provided at no cost to people with myeloma.
- Meet and support others with myeloma by attending a National Myeloma Day event during May.
- Increase other people’s general knowledge and understanding about myeloma. Tell at least one person, and possibly others too, about this incurable blood cancer during the month of May.