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Burning Questions: What a Researcher Is Striving to Learn About MPNs

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Published on June 5, 2013

What are the burning questions researchers want to answer about the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs)? While our knowledge is growing fast as new studies produce results, each study opens up new questions that can help advance treatment. Watch now as Dr. Claire Harrison talks about the key questions she's striving to answer with her research.

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Transcript | Burning Questions: What a Researcher Is Striving to Learn About MPNs

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.

Andrew Schorr:

Hello.  I'm Andrew Schorr for Patient Power. 

As research accelerates in the understanding and treatment of myeloproliferative conditions, data comes out, but often these studies produce more questions.  So we wanted to hear from an expert, what are the top scientific questions that are coming up in her mind.  Here's Dr. Claire Harrison, who is joining us to tick off her choices. 

Dr. Harrison:                                             

All good science generates more questions than answers.  You might set out to answer one question, what is the benefit of JAK inhibitor therapy for patients with myelofibrosis?  We can see a clear benefit but we're generating many, many questions.   I've got a lot of questions.  I hope I have the energy and tenacity to be able to work with colleagues to answer them. 

The key questions, for me, are, Can we improve upon prognostic score and can we identify those patients for whom we need to really think about, up front, very risky therapy?  On the other hand, Can we use novel therapies, like JAK inhibitors, earlier in the stage of disease?  Right now we've been looking at more advanced disease and asking that question.  Could we look at low and early intermediate patients with myelofibrosis, but could we also look at patients with PV and DT and show a benefit for those patients, reducing the risk of making that journey to myelofibrosis?

Can we pick out the patients who are going to develop leukemia and stop that happening, and once leukemia happens, can we treat it better, because, right now, we have very difficult, very few options there.  Other potentials, what are the best combination therapies?  How can we use them better for our patients? 

And then, some other issues, I think, are a big question.  Because we now have these molecular tests which we can use for our patients, we're picking out more patients with JAK2 positive disease but normal blood counts, and they may have had a very bad thrombosis.  I'm thinking of patients with Budd-Chiari, portal vein thrombosis, otherwise known as splenic vein thrombosis, completely normal blood counts.  We don't know what's the best way to treat those patients are, for example. 

We also don't know what the best way to treat the patients, who present with very early ET and PVR, and the key thing here is to try to do less harm.  So, lots of questions in answer to your own question. 

Andrew Schorr:

Dr. Claire Harrison, thank you so much for joining us. 

Dr. Harrison:

My great pleasure. 

Andrew Schorr:

We'll have much more with Dr. Harrison, and several other experts in the treatment of MPNs, posted right here on Patient Power.  Just be sure to be signed up for alerts, so we can let you know as they are posted. 

I'm Andrew Schorr.  Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all. 

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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