ASH 2019: Timely Myeloma Care Makes a World of Difference; Experts Prioritize Addressing Race-Associated Risks
Diverse Health Hub and the Patient Empowerment Network will partner to produce ongoing educational programs beginning in 2020. These programs identify demographic disparities found in existing diagnostic and treatment practices for multiple myeloma. Program content and educational resources will supply actionable and meaningful material tailored to healthcare providers, patients, and patient care teams. When patients feel heard and understood by their healthcare providers, they are more likely to participate in clinical trials and advocate confidently for treatment options. Our joint goal is to empower a targeted and unique population of myeloma patients to spark life-saving conversations with their providers. Be sure to sign up for PEN’s newsletters to learn more.
Onsite at ASH 2019, Diverse Health Hub interviewed prominent myeloma researchers, including questions from our members.
Is earlier effective treatment for a deeper response keeping myeloma at bay? Yes. According to new evidence around timing of treating myeloma presented at ASH 2019, immunotherapy drug daratumumab (DARZALEX) demonstrated it could repeatedly attack marker CD38 – a game changer. Dr. Sikander Ailawadhi sheds light on these new findings: “In the past the thought was that once the patient was treated by a drug that targets one particular marker that whole pathway or that mechanism of action is gone, but there was data presented at ASH, which we are all very encouraged about. Patients who have let’s say been treated with daratumumab (DARZALEX)—so one drug affecting that pathway – when they had disease progression at some point, they were treated with a brand-new drug going in for that pathway and the patients got very good deep responses.” Watch the complete interview below.
- Myeloma Treatment: Earlier effective treatment for a deeper response to keep disease quiet
- New Drugs: 2020 to be a big year for myeloma, drug approval buzz
- Encouraging Data: News at ASH 2019 reveals CD38 marker can be targeted repeatedly
Are disparities shortening the lifespan of a subset of myeloma patients? Yes. Several published papers indicate that the burden of disease was higher for a subset of myeloma patients as a result of socioeconomic status, age, race, lack of resources, access, and insurance type. Dr. Ailawadhi identifies the need for programs that educate both patients and providers to mitigate underlying disparities. Watch the complete interview below.
- Access to Care: Significant number of minority patients unaware of medical record access
- Burden of Disease: African Americans and Hispanics get treatment later than whites; costs tend to be higher for minority patients
- Observation: More frequently diagnosed with myeloma later stage, at a younger age
- Need: Educate patients, educate providers. Patients need to be their own advocates and direct the conversation with their providers in order to get to the right expert care
What role does education and awareness play in the diagnosis of ethnic myeloma patient populations? Despite advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma, Dr. Ajay Kumar Nooka identifies a gap between patient education and awareness of current therapeutic options. Dr. Nooka discusses how myeloma presents in various ethnic groups, and identifies disparities in access to initial treatment for African Americans and Hispanic populations. Nooka says, “education and awareness is the biggest gap we tend to see.” Watch the complete interview below.
- Good news: “Really good time in myeloma, more therapeutic options”
- Need Improvement: Education and awareness gaps still need to be filled; disparities among people of color, long road to diagnosis, delays and access to drugs
- Clinical Trials: Lack of minority awareness and participation in clinical trials contributes to treatment disparity
About Diverse Health Hub:
Diverse Health Hub is a health equity education and awareness channel producing educational content for both patients and providers in order to bridge the gaps between healthcare practices and the needs of multicultural communities. Diverse Health Hub works directly with a diverse patient and respected provider population in multiple therapeutic areas to promote cultural competence in healthcare. The organization believes access to these diverse perspectives cultivates culturally competent communities.