Can Investigators Engaging With Cancer Patients Impact Outcomes?

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How does research from myeloma clinical trials impact cancer care outcomes? Our panel of myeloma experts from the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2017 annual meeting including; Dr. Mike Thompson, Dr. Mohit Trikha, and patient advocate, Cynthia Chmielewski, explain why the data produced and insights gained from clinical trials is instrumental to healthcare decision-making, and how patient participation can help advance the prevention and treatment of myeloma. Watch now to find out how you can contribute to clinical research.

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Transcript

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:

When you go into the lab and all the people who work with you—does it feel like you’re going to war? 

Dr. Trikha:                 

It really is, and I think we try to remind ourselves that we are fighting and every day matters because it isn’t—we have to create a sense of urgency.

So, what I try to share with my team is “Put yourself”—we live in this world that is a regulated environment. We don’t get to see the patients. We’re not allowed. But, what we try to do is say, “Patient No. 101 is a 56-year-old female.” I say, “I’m 56, or 65. It’s a woman, probably a mother, probably a daughter, probably has friends, probably has a life.”

Andrew Schorr:         

Send in your pictures to AbbVie here and they’re going to stick them on the wall.

Dr. Trikha:                 

I think that’s how you have to motivate because so much of what we’re doing doesn’t work, and you just have to get up and say, “I’ve got to be right back at it.” 

Esther Schorr:            

It only takes one success to push it.

Dr. Trikha:                 

That’s why I call it short-term disappointment but long-term gratification, and that’s what gets us going and thinking about how we’re going to develop these cancer drugs.

Andrew Schorr:         

Thank you for all you do. So, are you encouraged—with all those failures, are you encouraged?

Dr. Trikha:                 

In all my years, I have never been more excited. There is a revolution going on. I think if you look at how our patients are living longer, compare that to just 10 years ago across the board. I am encouraged. Have we conquered cancer yet? Absolutely not. We are on that path and we have a lot more work to do, but we also should recognize that we’ve done some good work, and all of us collectively—the scientists, the clinicians, the patient advocates, the community, the family—if you put all of that together, you make a powerful fight. 

Andrew Schorr:         

And that’s what we’re getting. And also, as their drugs that they do in early development get to Mike and the clinics, and then Dr. Thompson says, “You know, there’s a trial we have here that we should discuss in the mix of what we have,” consider that.

When he tries to develop something and he tries to test it, we have to be their partner. Think about it. I’ve been in a trial. Have you been in any trials, Cindy?

Cynthia Chmielewski:

I have. I’ve been in a trial—it wasn’t for a new drug, but it was looking for the pharmacokinetics of a drug during my stem cell transplant…

Andrew Schorr:         

To get answers. 

Cynthia Chmielewski:

To get answers, yes.

Esther Schorr:            

The other thing I’ve been very—you asked me earlier what I’m encouraged by and what I’m hearing here, and you just asked that of our panel—is that the kind of dialogue we’re having right now—I’m hearing it across pharmaceutical, across practitioners, across patients. There’s a lot more dialogue going on than I remember just a few years ago.

Dr. Thompson:           

It’s very interesting because I met Cindy through social media, and now, we’ve published some things together.

I was sitting in a session with her and it was really fun to be there with a patient—she’s not my patient, but someone who has a very different perspective on things, and communicating, and I think that ASH, and ASCO, and AACR—I think all these conferences are starting to realize that we’re not in an ivory tower, we’re not just in a lab. We need to really engage with patients. I think that can sometimes be harder. It can be messier and more difficult to communicate.

We use jargon because it’s faster, but we have to learn that if we want to keep funding going and keep developing drugs, we need to let the public know why this program matters and what’s the rationale. We opened up a precision medicine clinic at my center, and part of it is we communicated with people why they would think about doing something. When they get it, they don’t have to know all the molecular pathways, but there is a pathway, and I have this abnormal, and you have a drug that goes right through—I get it.

Cynthia Chmielewski:

I get it.

Dr. Thompson:           

And so, I don’t have to know everything about it, but now, I have an understanding of—you don’t know if it’s going to work, but why you think that might work.

Dr. Trikha:                 

You think about—I’m trying not to get too geeky here on you folks, but cancer signaling—we were talking about BCL2 pathways. We were talking about EGFR, types of precision medicines. That is communication. A normal cell has gone renegade. That signaling—which is communication—has also gone wrong. If we are to combat cancer, scientists, clinicians, patients, folks have to signal with each other and communicate with each other, and if we all work together, I’m pretty optimistic.

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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Page last updated on February 28, 2018