Published on July 19, 2016
Why is your myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) treatment different from someone else with an MPN? MPN experts, Dr. Mark Heaney of Columbia University Medical Center and Dr. John Mascarenhas of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, explain why MPNs can be complex to understand and to treat. No one therapy fits all, and the experts stress the need for a personalized treatment plan that manages the disease and balances good quality of life.
Transcript | Everyone's MPN Is Different: Finding the Best Treatment Plan for You
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Dr. Mascarenhas, I have maybe a dumb question. But if we got a chest infection, you might generally prescribe an antibiotic, and it would work for most of us. Why is it variable about the way we respond to these different drugs?
It’s a great question. One of the things I often tell patients I meet is if you see 25 patients in a day with myelofibrosis, you really don’t see two patientswalk the same path.
The origin of their disease, the course they take and sort of the complications they may have had, the symptoms they may have vary pretty considerably. And the future can vary in terms of whether they would feel well for a period of time or have progressive symptoms or disease progression. So it’s a challenging disease clinically, and I think that’s basically underlined by the fact that the disease, the mechanisms of disease here are complicated.
They’re not straightforward where one drug will fit all. So I think the disease is a complicated disease biologically, and therefore you don’t always see the same response universally with a drug amongst a group of patients. And you’ll see varied responses, which makes it challenging and sort of emphasizes the fact that there still remains significant unmet need in myelofibrosis.
So a couple of lessons for us patients, and that is first of all to get the care that’s specialized for you, even within the certain diagnosis, A; and B, get the care that’s specialized for you now at your point in your journey with that illness, because it changes.
It’s not like it just goes like that. Some people go like that, and then like that; it moves around, right?
That’s right. And even the natural history, the pace of progression for each patient may change, and it may be initially rapid and then plateau, or it may go the other way around. That’s why you really need to have a customized treatment plan for both the patient and the physician to pay attention closely to changes.
Right, and that’s why you say come back in three months. But in my case, for instance, my doctor, I don’t go in all the time, but they want me right now to have blood tests every month. They get the results to see if something has changed.