CAR T-cell therapy can be a big undertaking, so what should you know when considering this option? Dr. Adriana Rossi shares advice for patients, including key questions to ask your healthcare team.
Dr. Adriana Rossi is co-director of the CAR T and stem cell transplant program at the Center for Excellence for Multiple Myeloma at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. Learn more about Dr. Rossi.
Dr. Rossi, we discussed the process of accessing CAR T-cell therapy, which can be a big undertaking. How do you counsel patients who are considering this treatment option?
Dr. Adriana Rossi:
Mostly, I want to make sure that they are well-educated and understand as much as we do and as much as we can convey. I am fortunate to be part of a big multidisciplinary team so there is social workers, clinical coordinators, other specialists, dentists, cardiologists, to give all of the perspectives. I like to make sure that they know what it is and also that they know what it isn’t. So, it is not a stem cell transplant and it is not another line of therapy that you just sign up for and go into blindly.
So, making sure they’ve had all of their questions answered, and it’s not something they read on the Internet. They have spoken with one of the CAR T physicians, understand all of the steps of the process, and have questions to their very individual needs addressed.
If a patient is interested in possibly doing CAR T-cell therapy, what questions should they ask their healthcare team?
Dr. Adriana Rossi:
I think again making it personal to them. Does the team think they are a good candidate? Is this the right time? Because they may be a good candidate but not even need it at the moment. Or, again, there are things that we could do between now and the cells to optimize the success both in efficacy and toxicity.
Understanding what side effects are expected for that individual because, again, we can usually judge these will be more likely or less likely. And then, do I have a plan in place to find the right center and continue the care and the monitoring near home after that?