Published on February 5, 2019
As part of our coverage of the 2018 American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting, Dr. Mohit Trikha joined Patient Power to discuss new avenues of multiple myeloma treatment research and share what drug developments are underway. Dr. Trikha describes the questions clinical research is aiming to answer, the importance of clinical trials and how they are putting patients first. Watch now to find out more.
Transcript | A Scientist’s Insight to Future Treatment Developments for Myeloma
So, Mo, you have labs and other scientists working with you. Where are we headed? So, you talked about the BiTES. And I think for some people, that may be the first time you’ve heard that. And you gave us education there. Are there any other sort of Star Trekkian things you want to mention?
So, where we’re headed right now—you know, I’ve been in cancer research and development for a little over 20 years. And I sometimes tell my teens, “The RE in research stands—at least for me, stands for rejection, repetition, resilience, and now we have a reward.” It’s a very exciting time to be in cancer research and drug development. Patients are living longer. We now—I mean, when I listen to any of these talks at ASH, you look at the x-axis. We talk about months, years. A few years ago, we used to talk about...right?
It was—it’s remarkable. So, the next generation in places that we think about—and that’s what’s near and dear to us at the AbbVie in bringing new molecules and new medicines forward tis to say, “Put patients first.”
I’m a scientist. I love to ask questions. So, when we’re writing clinical protocols, we want to throw in as many exploratory studies that we can. I’m just being very honest about how we like to do, right? Our number one training is to ask why. But we have to put patients first and say, “Is somebody going to drive an hour?” Come there, right? They have a job. They have a life. They have a family. So, design what I call smarter clinical trials. Design medicines that actually help and can fit into the patient’s daily life. I would love for our patients to die of some other disease. Die of old age or boredom, right? If I could have it my way. But I think that’s where the new medicines are going.
So thinking about orals. We talked about venetoclax (Venclexta), I think is a good example of something that you take a pill or you take a few pills. You’re swallowing.
Ixazomib is another example. Could you—instead of an intravenous infusion, could you do subcutaneous injections? Are there single treatments that you can do? Can you—can we envision a world of CAR-Ts that are looking forward? So, the new frontier that we’re thinking about is they are doublets. They’re triplets. There’s quadruplet therapies. Cancer breaks all rules, right? So, the reason we have these lines of therapies is you go down with a line of therapy. You hold the cancer back. And then it comes right back. It is a clone. A single cell. We were discussing earlier about minimal residual disease, MRD. These are single clones.
We’re now developing techniques that you can detect these cells at a DNA level that is like 1 in 1,000, 1 in 100,000, right? So, that’s the position that we’re going into. And so, that’s where I see the next revolution. And that’s where the reward…
…we’re going from defense to offense.
Yeah. And we are now saying, “Let’s go and turn it on and push back and think about the right combinations.” That, to me, is the new frontier.
Right. But also clinical trials, as you mentioned, where you’re asking of us—the patients—collaborate with the scientist, with the clinician. But have it not be burdensome for you. How many tests? How many pokes? How many trips to Arkansas or wherever you may go? So, the one to…
…that’s part of what we talk about. Real quick, if I could just add to that. Why do we collect data, right? So, we’re thinking about designing clinical trials from a patient’s point of view. So, how am I going to use this information? And if it is really decision making and it helps me develop my medicine faster, that’s the way to think about it.