The Indian Myeloma Congress was a three day event from February 9-11, 2018, held at Manekshaw Auditorium by the Department of hematology, Army Hospital (Research and Referral) under the aegis of Indian Myeloma Academic Groupe (IMAGe). The conference was inaugurated by the Commandant of AHRR and Offg DGMS(Army), Lt Gen AK Das, PVSM appreciated the efforts of organsing chairperson Brig S Das and organising secretary Lt Col Uday for bringing together more than 1000 participants. This was followed by a felicitation of the pioneers of Haemato-oncology in India, i.e., Dr Mammen Chandy, Dr MB Agarwal, Lt Gen Velu Nair (Retd) and Dr Subhash Varma.
The academic feast included "Meet the Professor", a rare opportunity for the residents to interact with the luminaries of Hematology, of both international and national acclaim. International fraternity included Dr Shaji Kumar and Dr Vincent Rajkumar from Mayo Clinic, USA; Dr Sundar Jagannath from Mt. Sinai Hospital, USA; and Dr Sagar Lonial from Emory University, USA. In addition, major institutes of the country such as AIIMS, New Delhi; PGIMER, Chandigarh; CMC Vellore, CMC Ludhiana; Adiyar cancer institute, Chennai; NIMS, Hyderabad; TMC Kolkata; TMH, Mumbai; SGPGI, Lucknow; Amrita, Kochi; Guwahati Medical College; Kolkata medical college; KGMC, Lucknow and many more government and private institutes participated.
IMAGe was formally launched during the conference along with its website (www.imagesociety.co.in). The founding members include Dr Tapan Saikia, Dr Reena Nair, Dr H Menon, Dr Velu Nair, Dr Pankaj Malhotra, Dr Joseph John, Dr N Khattry, and Dr Lalit Kumar. IMAGe is a concentrated effort of the Myeloma specialists in India to share a vision of standardised quality care for all and work towards the achievement of that vision. Dr Tapan Saikia gave an introduction to the aim and objectives of the society and Dr Velu Nair shared the vision of the IMAGe society till 2025. To give impetus to research work in myeloma by budding fellows in the country, "Gen Velu Nair" travelling fellowship was announced. The launch got a warm open arm welcome by all myeloma specialists who pledged their sincere effort at data sharing and collaborative research. The consensus guidelines for risk stratification in myeloma patients was discussed by Dr Rajan Kapoor and Bone health in Myeloma with an Indian perspective in mind by Dr P Malhotra. The cost effectiveness of second line therapy in Indian patients was discussed by Dr S Parmanik.
Keeping in line with the "Digital India" vision of our government, the IMAGe gave an approval for the creation of National Myeloma Data Registry. With the theme of "Make in India", an indigenously developed web-platform by Lt Col (Dr) Uday for digitalization of Multiple Myeloma data in Indian setting, www.care4myeloma.in was launched. Also, a well-tested and validated website for solid malignancies "OncoCollect" was presented by Dr Ramesh wherein similar facility can be extended to Myeloma patients. These websites help doctors with protocol-based documentation, digitalization of patient records, aiding in moving away from the paper records. The web application based on medical algorithms aids in suggesting broad directions of myeloma therapy based on the patient-based conditions with options for individualized therapy. These platforms also help in preventing medical errors, particularly relevant to Indian settings wherein all patients are not privy to the subspecialty care. As most patients have no access to the hematologists/ oncologists, the individual variability in medical care can be brought down by prepopulated dropdowns based on established medical guidelines, and by suggesting drug complications/ scheduling. The website launch was also accompanied by the launch of Mobile application for Multiple Myeloma which can be used by patient and doctor alike for monitoring disease and treatment.
Patient education has always been the chink in the armour of myeloma care in India. The patient education pamphlets were released which was enthusiastically accepted by the patients. These pamphlets addressed a number of issues related to diagnosis, prognosis, adverse effects secondary to the disease/ treatment, lifestyle and dietary changes specific for the myeloma patients. The conference also witnessed, first of its kind concurrent "Meet your doctor" session. The patients discussed their problems, expectations with the august panel of myeloma experts. A brainstorming session was conducted with the patients/ caregivers to find solutions to their fears and queries.
This conference was unique in holding a concurrent continuing nursing symposium which was enthusiastically attended by 250 nursing colleagues from across the country. Multiple spheres of nursing in myeloma care were discussed as four workshops held by PGIMER, Chandigarh CMC Vellore, TMH Mumbai and Military nursing services. This theme based conference was enriched by myeloma experiences shared by faculty of other specialties like neurology, nephrology, immunology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics and endocrinology.