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AML Awareness, Coronavirus and Clinical Trials

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Published on April 21, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • AML patients in active treatment should educate themselves on coronavirus symptoms and contact their medical team if they experience any of these symptoms.
  • The explosion of newly approved AML therapies are all because of patients and clinicians who worked together in the context of a clinical trial.

AML patients in active treatment are already immunocompromised, it is extremely important for extra precautions to be taken during the coronavirus outbreak. Dr. Daniel Pollyea, University of Colorado, Anshutz Medical Campus, advises that patients and care partners know the symptoms of coronavirus and communicate immediately with their medical care providers if they experience any symptoms.

"In a way a clinical trial is like a time machine. It allows you to receive a therapy that is a potential standard of care in the future," Dr. Pollyea encourages AML patients to consider participating in a clinical trial as this is often the path to the greatest outcome for the patient.

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Transcript | AML Awareness, Coronavirus and Clinical Trials

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Recorded on April 14, 2020

Dr. Pollyea:

Well, in these very difficult times that we're facing challenges from this viral pandemic, the challenges that people with blood cancers, in particular AML, have simultaneously can be overwhelming. And we've been hearing a lot of concern and questions related to how a person with this additional burden can get through these very, very difficult times. And just as these are unique times for patients, they're also very unique times for us in the medical field. And not only have we not seen a pandemic like this in generations, we have no great sense of what to recommend additionally for patients that are even more vulnerable.

We're doing our best to try to develop some of these recommendations now and as far as we know for right now, if you're a patient who actively has acute myeloid leukemia, is being actively treated, then paying close attention to all of the precautions that are being given to all of us is very important. Limiting exposure to the public, staying home as much as possible. Minimizing contact with your face, your mouth, your eyes in particular after you've been outside or while you were outside. Good hand hygiene and recognizing the symptoms of this virus and calling immediately if there are any concerns about these symptoms.

All of those things are the most important things that we can recommend doing right now. And I think, the big picture message here is that we are going to get through this, we are all going to get our way out of this, and this is going to end. And so some additional precautions on top of what our patients typically do normally with the sequestration of themselves during periods of increased immunosuppression while on treatment is really important for right now.

As far as the benefit of participation in clinical trials and AML, this is so crucial and important to the field, and it's not just important for the advancement of the field, but it's also important for an individual patient to have their best chance of the best possible outcome. So the reality of AML is that historically we have not been very good at treating this disease, and outcomes have been quite poor. And for a long time the recommendation has been for most situations with AML to seek out and participate in a clinical trial. And if you look at NCCN guidelines for instance, that's reflected there in that being a codified recommendation.

And the reason for that historically has been because traditional therapies have not been very effective, and we think that we can do better in the context of clinical trials. And that is borne out recently with this explosion of new therapies approved for AML. In every one of those therapies that have been approved have been approved based on the work that patients and physicians and researchers have done in the context of clinical trials.

And so, all of those patients who received these therapies in the context of a clinical trial, months or even years before they were available to the larger public, were essentially receiving a therapy of the future. I mean in a way a clinical trial is like a time machine. It allows you to sort of travel into the future to receive a therapy that is the potential standard of care in a more futuristic era. And that is such an exciting proposition, I think for us on the research side, but also for patients to have that opportunity.

And so that is really the reason to consider participation in a clinical trial is to have access to therapies that we don't have conventional access to yet, but we will someday. And it's that hope and that promise that helps individual patients and also helps the whole field. And so those are some important reasons to really strongly consider participation in a clinical trial.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.
 
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