Support Group Meeting in New Delhi (Oct 2) – focus on 2nd Gen TKIs

The Max Foundation & Friends of Max in association with Sir Ganga Ram Hospital organized “A support group meeting with special focus on 2nd Generation TKIs “ at New Delhi on October 2, 2016. As a CML patient for over 17 years and having just migrated into a 2nd generation TKI only a few months ago, I had promptly made up my mind to attend the event.

Now, post event, upon introspection, I had no qualms that my decision to attend was so judicious. I could largely satiate myself with all the information that I was looking for, as I had been groping in the dark with potential fallouts, outcomes, altered side effects etc. ever since I had switched. The support group meeting was so perfectly timed that it could assuage the doubts of many a patient who have already switched to a 2nd generation TKI and many who contemplate or expect to switch at some stage.

The meeting kick started with the welcome address by Ms Viji Venkatesh of The Max Foundation where she also emphasized that the theme was pertinent in the backdrop of newer therapies coming into existence. It was followed with the enlightening panel discussion which is always a cherished hallmark of FOM meetings. Two of the reputed oncologists of the city, Dr Shyam Agarwal from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and Dr Dinesh Bhurani from Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Center were present for the occasion.

The discussions predominantly covered the unfamiliar areas, notably the timing for a switch to 2nd generation for the 1st generation, the option of directly getting on a 2nd generation drug for a new patient, the side effects of the 2nd generation drugs, compliance issues, the PCR testing and interpretation of results and development of third generation drugs.

The erudite doctors lucidly explained to the house the guidelines in vogue and their insights on specific cases that were put forth during discussion. In synopsis, the doctors opined that

  • In cases where there is resistance to Imatinb therapy which largely reflects in the deterioration in PCR results, a switch is contemplated.
  • Selection of therapy is done by the doctor on the basis of Mutation Analysis and the patient profile, markedly on the basis of the kind of resistance to side effects the patient registers.
  • As the 2nd generation drugs are known to have a greater efficacy than the 1st generation, doctors also consider to put patients directly on them, expecting earlier remission.
  • Doctors alerted that the 2nd generation drugs have more side effects and it is imperative to monitor them periodically.
  • Specific cases of plural effusion, acute anemia, breathlessness, severe cramps and abdominal disorders were discussed threadbare.
  • An astute insight into PCR testing, the facilities available in different parts of the country and the need to examine abl copies were deliberated at length.
  • Compliance issues giving precise details of the timing and the pre requisites of the 2nd generation drugs were enunciated by the esteemed doctors.
  • Doctors also mentioned about the advent a third generation drug but it is still at an infancy stage and its details are not yet known clearly. The said drug is not yet available in the country but some agencies are making efforts to make it available in due course of time.

The meeting had another session which was a kind of Workshop where the matters of care giving, fund raising and role of Friends of Max to help the patient fraternity were deliberated.

FOM, Delhi has the distinction of organizing events in style. They had organized very palatable breakfast and lunch for the attendees which was widely appreciated.

Report by Ramanathan Sheshadhari