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International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) to Honor 2024 Kyle and Durie Achievement Awardees, Dr. Shaji Kumar and Dr. Francesca Gay

Awarding ceremonies to be held on June 11 at the 15th Annual IMWG Summit in Madrid, Spain

/EIN News/ -- MADRID, Spain, June 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) and the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) are proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Robert A. Kyle Achievement Award and Brian G.M. Durie Outstanding Achievement Award. The in-person awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday, June 11, at the 15th Annual International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Summit in Madrid, Spain.

The Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement and Brian G.M. Durie Outstanding Achievement Awards are presented each year to outstanding and deserving individuals who have made significant contributions in the field of myeloma research.

Both Dr. Robert A. Kyle and IMF Founder, Chief Scientific Officer, and IMWG Chairman Dr. Brian G.M. Durie warmly congratulate the 2024 Awardees and look forward to the official awards ceremony on June 11, when full recognition will be given to Drs. Kumar and Gay.

“The Dr. Kyle Lifetime Achievement and Dr. Durie Outstanding Achievement Awards are prestigious awards in the field and are presented annually to investigators who have made huge contributions to the field,” said IMF Chairperson of the Board Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar.

This year’s Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Awardee is Shaji K. Kumar, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Myeloma, Amyloid, and Dysproteinemia Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) to Honor 2024 Kyle and Durie Achievement Awardees, Dr. Shaji Kumar and Dr. Francesca Gay: Awarding ceremonies to be held on June 11 at the 15th Annual IMWG Summit in Madrid, Spain 

A Media Snippet accompanying this announcement is available by clicking on this link.

Dr. Kumar has had a long and sustained impact on the field of myeloma and related disorders. He has over 600 peer-reviewed publications in the field, and has led numerous phase I, II, and III clinical trials advancing new treatments for patients with the disease. His laboratory research contributions are extensive, and include development of new targeted therapies as well as several biomarkers for response assessment and prognosis. Of particular note, he led the development of the International Myeloma Working Group response criteria, as well as established the currently used definitions for Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) in myeloma. Dr. Kumar’s research accomplishments also include contributions to understanding the role of tumor microenvironment in myeloma, mechanisms of disease progression, risk stratification of plasma disorders. In 2021, Dr. Kumar was recognized at this event with the 2021 Brian G.M. Durie Outstanding Achievement Award.

“It is a great honor to be chosen for an award that bears the name of Prof. Robert A. Kyle, who is a teacher, a mentor, a colleague, and a friend to most of us in the field of plasma cell disorders and an inspiration for generations of myeloma clinicians and researchers. This recognition is, without doubt, the highlight of my career, and I am humbled by the fact that all my work has been built on the foundation laid by many individuals over decades. I am forever grateful to my mentors and colleagues at Mayo; without their help and constant encouragement, I would not have been able to succeed, and I accept this award on behalf of the entire Mayo team,” said Dr. Kumar.

This year’s Brian G.M. Durie Outstanding Achievement Awardee is Prof. Francesca Gay, MD, PhD—an Associate Professor at the Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences in the University of Torino, and a Hematologist at the SSD Clinical trials in onco-hematology and multiple myeloma, Division of Hematology, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Italy.

Dr. Gay has over 150 peer-reviewed publications and has led multiple phase I, II, and III clinical trials for the treatment of myeloma. She has worked on several international multi-center projects and data analyses. Dr. Gay’s research contributions include the use of new biological molecules, monoclonal antibodies, immunotherapeutic agents, CAR T cells, and stem-cell transplantation techniques. In 2019, the International Myeloma Society presented Dr. Gay with the Bart Barlogie Young Investigator Award. She was also the recipient of the COMy Woman in Multiple Myeloma Achievement Award in 2022.

“I am flattered, it is a great honor for me to receive this award. Dr. Durie dedicated his life to myeloma research and patient care and is a model to all researchers. It is a privilege for me to work with many colleagues to improve the outcome of myeloma patients. This award acknowledges the work we have been doing and goes to the whole team,” said Dr. Gay.

“I think this award is a recognition for all the trials Francesca was able to design. She is brilliant and able to foresee where the myeloma therapy is headed to, and then to plan the right trial at the right moment. This is the reason why the trial she designed has been selected for the plenary last ASH,” said IMF Board Member and 2008 Dr. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Awardee Prof. Mario Boccadoro, who is also the Head of the Hematology of the Oncology Division at the University of Torino, Italy and founder of the Italian Myeloma Study Group.

Dr. Rajkumar applauded Dr. Gay's exceptional achievements stating, “Dr. Gay has had a huge impact on the field, with her enduring contributions through a series of well-designed laboratory and clinical trials. I am particularly pleased that we were able to work together on several research projects on the treatment of myeloma.”

IMF President & CEO and 28-year myeloma patient Yelak Biru extends his warmest congratulations and appreciation to this year’s Kyle and Durie Achievement Awardees.

On Dr. Kumar receiving the Dr. Kyle Achievement Award, Yelak remarked: “As Dr. Shaji Kumar's patient, I'm overwhelmed with joy to see him honored with the Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award by the IMF. Dr. Kumar's impact goes far beyond groundbreaking research. His empathy and care are unparalleled. He takes the time to understand his patients truly, explains complex situations in a clear and comforting way, and is always available to address any concerns. His methodical and thoughtful approach instills confidence in his patients. Dr. Kumar's research is prolific and highly respected by his colleagues – a testament to his collaborative spirit, which embodies the essence of Dr. Robert A. Kyle's legacy. This award is a well-deserved recognition of Dr. Kumar's exceptional contributions that have given hope and improved the lives of countless myeloma patients, including myself.”  

Yelak praised Dr. Gay for being this year’s Dr. Durie Outstanding Achievement Awardee: “On behalf of the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) and the entire myeloma community, I am thrilled to congratulate Dr. Francesca Gay on receiving the Brian G.M. Durie Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr. Gay's dedication to research, particularly in the area of new treatment options for newly diagnosed myeloma patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), is truly inspiring. It's especially noteworthy that Dr. Gay is only the second woman to receive this prestigious award. This highlights the growing influence of female researchers in the field of myeloma, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse future. Her collaborative spirit, evident in her work with EMN and leadership roles within multiple professional organizations, reflects the essence of Dr. Durie's legacy. The IMF is proud to recognize Dr. Gay's outstanding achievements, and we celebrate her as a role model.” 

ABOUT THE IMF KYLE AND DURIE ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

The Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals whose work have resulted in significant advances in research, treatment, and care of myeloma patients. Dr. Robert A. Kyle (Mayo Clinic—Rochester, MN) is a world-renowned myeloma expert whose “groundbreaking research has led to the discovery of significant hematologic entities—monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM),” states the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The Brian G.M. Durie Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes excellent achievements in multiple myeloma research. Professor of Medicine, Hematologist/Oncologist, and Honoree MD at the University of Brussels, Dr. Brian G.M. Durie is the Chief Scientific Officer of the IMF. Dr. Durie is also the Chairman of the IMWG and leads the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative®(BSRI).

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Founded in 1990, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is the first and largest global foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. The Foundation's reach extends to more than 525,000 members in 140 countries worldwide. The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure by focusing on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. The IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned InfoLine, and in 2001, established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. In 2012, the IMF launched the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a groundbreaking research project aimed at curing myeloma. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org.

Media Contacts:

Peter Anton
Panton@myeloma.org

Jason London
Jlondon@myeloma.org


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