Patient Power Fuels Patient Action With Reporting on Blood Cancer Progress Seen at ASH Annual Meeting
Interviews With Researchers, Physicians and Patients Explain Better Treatments, New Modalities and Fewer Side Effects
Genomic and Minimal Residual Disease Testing From Diagnosis On Plays Growing Role in Personalized Care
Carlsbad, CA, Dec. 23, 2019 -- Patient Power®, which delivers patient-powered journalism, information and opportunities to engage with and connect to the cancer community, reports that research and scientific advances across many blood cancers, presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, offer more hope than before for patients to have a longer life, with fewer side effects from treatment, and in some cases, a chance for a cure. The Patient Power® patient-journalism team was on the ground, covering ASH in more than 30 video interviews with researchers, leading blood cancer medical specialists and inspiring patients, breaking down the news to immediately actionable information patients can use. Additional coverage included live “talk show style” Daily Wraps, summarizing the news of the day and emerging trends, and three live Ask the Expert sessions, delving deeper into specific cancers.
“While the news coming out of ASH is remarkable and generally quite positive, even the experts can barely keep up with the fast-changing landscape and increasing move to personalized treatment, which is why Patient Power is there, providing the coverage that gives patients what they need to know and how to take action,” said Andrew Schorr, Co-Founder and President of Patient Power, as well as pioneering medical journalist and survivor of two cancers. “With advances in disease detection at the cellular level, and increasing awareness of the importance of genetic cancer type for treatment to be effective, we urge all patients to get tested throughout the course of their disease and to get a consultation with a specialist in their particular cancer—not rely solely on the advice of a general oncologist.”
Key themes and take-home messages:
- Real progress in blood cancer treatment, but treatment is no longer “one-size fits all”
- Numerous new medications becoming available
- Options emerging to use medications in combination, even with drugs for other cancers
- Cancer sub-type identification emerges as increasingly important for treatment effectiveness
- Increasing sensitivity of minimal residual disease (MRD) detection tests across several blood cancers can assess how treatment is working and, in some cases, whether it can be stopped
- Treatment Trends:
- Fixed Duration Therapy: Using targeted therapies for a fixed duration, instead of continuously
- Combining solid tumor immunotherapies with blood cancer drugs. Several clinical trials are exploring this option.
- Continued progress in combining targeted blood cancer therapies with new, investigational approaches to immunotherapy
- Economic Factors: As powerful, targeted oral medications continue to replace infused chemotherapies and are combined, cost is an issue, especially for Medicare patients. Precision MRD detection allows the potential for fixed-duration therapy, an attractive prospect for better health and pocketbook relief.
Specific Cancer Progress:
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
- Moving away from chemotherapy to targeted medications for the vast majority of patients
- Medications tested in combination, and for a fixed duration, with the goal that patients could stop treatment for extended periods, sparing side effects and cost
- Working to get a clear picture of which patients will benefit from CAR-T immuno-therapies, as well as less toxic ways to use them
- BiTE (bi-specific T-cell engager) therapies, that target both the cancer and the immune system, and do not require cell extraction. Could compete with CAR-T
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Until recently, treatment options were extremely limited, now there are many for various sub-types, including for older patients
- Continual subtype testing important, as AML cancer genes change over time
Multiple Myeloma (MM)
- More medications available than before and for patients at both ends of the progression spectrum:
- Smoldering myeloma: More sensitive tests facilitate starting treatment in some cases, instead of waiting
- Late-stage myeloma: More treatment options, particularly in combination therapies
Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs)
- More treatment developments, one new approved oral therapy, several medicines in late clinical trials and more research interest overall
- Ongoing studies in familial genetic connections and in the role of diet to reduce the inflammation that plays a role in these conditions
To view the complete ASH coverage, please go to https://patientpower.info/ash2019.
About Patient Power
Patient Power is a patient-centric, mission-driven media organization dedicated to providing actionable information and support to people affected by cancer. Through its multiple programs, Patient Power empowers patients and their care partners with the most up-to-date and salient information to make savvy treatment decisions. Programs include patient-powered journalism, reporting from the frontlines of cancer conferences; in-person and live broadcast Town Hall meetings in specific cancers featuring medical experts and inspiring patients; interviews and broadcasts throughout the year; and e-newsletters targeted to specific cancers. Patient Power also produces peer-to-peer discussions, including “Patient Café,” on-line conversations highlighting the wisdom of experienced patients and care partners, as well frequent postings on a variety of social media channels.
Patient Power also amplifies the voice of people it reaches, delivering their insights to interested parties, including the media, government and companies that develop medical products.
Patient Power’s mission is to help patients and care partners, from diagnosis on, approach cancer in way that accelerates their journey to the best possible health.
# # #
Co-Founder and President