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MPN Therapies You Should Discuss With Your Doctor

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Published on June 23, 2020

What MPN treatment news came out of the recently concluded European Hematology Association (EHA) meeting? What does it mean for patients?
 
Watch as Andrew Schorr talks to Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center about what new treatments patients should pay attention to. Dr. Pemmaraju highlights three categories to watch, including JAK inhibitors, BCL-XL inhibitors and novel agents.

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Transcript | MPN Therapies You Should Discuss With Your Doctor

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, and welcome to Patient Power. I'm Andrew Schorr. Joining us is Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju from MD Anderson Cancer Center. He's a noted MPN physician and researcher. So we have the European Hematology Association meeting; EHA. And doctors from around the world are now, with a virtual meeting, plugged into this. So, what about for people living with an MPN? Are there things you want to point out to our patient audience that could be significant for them?

Dr. Pemmaraju:

Well, thank you, Andrew. And you're right. Importantly, this is the very first time that the EHA, or European Hematology Association, meeting will be completely virtual, obviously because of the pandemic. So I'm eager to see how that goes.

There are three categories of items I want our patients and caregivers facing MPNs every day to pay attention to that will be highlighted at this meeting and later on in the year. Category one, Andrew, is novel JAK inhibitors. So we all know ruxolitinib (Jakafi), the first-in-class JAK inhibitor, but now there are other JAK inhibitors such as momelotinib, pacritinib, fedratinib (Inrebic), and others. So there'll be some updates at the EHA meeting that I myself am eager to see, about these drugs as single agents.

Number two category that's very important are the add-back strategies, or add-on. This is a new developing area that I want folks to get used to. This is where you're already on a JAK inhibitor, you're allowed to stay on it, Andrew, and then the clinical trial adds in the new agent, whether it's navitoclax, which is a BCL-XL inhibitor, bromodomain inhibitors, so on and so forth. So pay attention to those updates. Those will be at this EHA meeting.

And still a third category, third and final, are the completely novel agents. We'll call those beyond JAK inhibitors or non-JAK inhibitors. And this is a potentially very exciting, but still early group of drugs that really have nothing to do with the JAK/STAT pathway that you and I have become familiar with. And my group and others are leading some of these efforts. They may target CD123, or some of these new proteins and signals that many of our viewers haven't heard. Because a lot of this is virtual and online, I really encourage folks to be able to sign up, register, or follow us on social media at the hashtag MPNSM, where me, Dr. Ruben Mesa, and others will be tweeting about these results.

Andrew Schorr:

Okay. So, some people will see our interview after the meeting. So when it all happens, where do you think we'll be left with MPN research, and things that maybe patients should ask their doctor about?

Dr. Pemmaraju:

Well, that's important because I think from a realistic standpoint, a lot of the excitement from meetings, as you and I both know and many of our viewers, they usually take months to years for some of those results to pan out. So oftentimes a meeting or a conference is a chance to hear preliminary results or ongoing. So my prediction is that it will continue to build on the progress that we're hearing.

But I think that how does it change in the clinic, there are two things that we can highlight. One is that the number of clinical trials in the MPNs undeniably is increasing in a good way for everybody involved: patients, caregivers. So as you know, I've encouraged our viewers many times to go to sort of the independent website, ClinicalTrials.gov, G-O-V, which is the government-maintained NIH database, fairly well-maintained with up-to-date clinical trials. And number two, to start those discussions early and often with the local treating oncologists, because things with STEM cell transplant are changing rapidly, all of these new categories of drugs, new JAK inhibitors, add-on drugs, new agents, they're coming really quickly, and so there has to be some way to absorb that for the doctor and the patient. So I think this is the most fundamental thing, that the number of clinical trials is actually exploding and we all need to stay on top of that.

Andrew Schorr:

All right. So as a patient, the news is: Ask about what's new, what's promising, is there research that could apply to you?

Dr. Pemmaraju:

Yes, absolutely.

Andrew Schorr:

Okay. Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju, thank you so much for joining us on Patient Power once again.

Dr. Pemmaraju:

Thank you, Andrew. Thank you.

Andrew Schorr:

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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