Brought to you in partnership with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
Have you ever considered how your genes may impact the progression of a disease living in your body? Well, that’s where genomics comes into play and has actually helped multiple myeloma doctors gain a better understanding of the cancer and how to treat it.
Genomic testing identifies the specific pattern of genetic mutations in a person’s cancer. This may lead to a better understanding of the cancer and how to treat it. Essentially, these tests help identify which DNA alterations may be driving the growth of a specific tumor. For Black multiple myeloma patients, who have more than double the risk of developing the disease, these tests are extremely important because myeloma tends to affect them differently than other races.
Clinical trials can help researchers gain a better understanding of how genes may influence diseases. Dr. Craig Cole, Hematologist and Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, sat down with Blackdoctor.org to discuss the importance of treating Blacks with myeloma and how clinical trials may help.
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Breakthroughs in multiple myeloma happen rapidly, but at its core myeloma is a disease that doesn’t have a specific method of treatment. Many doctors build a treatment plan based on the patient’s specific condition.
“New drugs are both in the pipeline and in clinical trials,” Dr. Cole says.
Chemotherapy, for example, is often used to kill cancer cells but may also harm a person’s blood cells in their bone marrow.
“We don’t use chemotherapy anymore for myeloma. We use drugs that specifically work with the biology of the patient. Because people of different ethnicities have different biologies, it’s critical that African Americans are involved in clinical trials,” Dr. Cole adds.
Dr. Cole notes that he doesn’t use this method of treatment anymore. He instead focuses on drugs that work in conjunction with the specific biology of a patient.
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Without clinical trials, doctors will not know how to effectively treat Black patients. Clinical trials are essential in testing new drugs on Black patients and determining how they may affect them differently than patients of other races.
Luckily, there are several studies, like the MMRF CureCloud®, that work to conveniently bring the resources to the patients. With these tools and more Blacks participating in clinical trials, doctors, patients and researchers alike will be able to bridge the gap in how myeloma affects Blacks.
The MMRF CureCloud recently introduced the first at-home genomic testing program for myeloma patients to help accelerate research.
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The detailed reports of genomic and clinical data that the MMRF CureCloud provides to patients and doctors have been increasingly helpful for those who may not otherwise receive them due to cost and inconvenience.
If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, please visit the MMRF’s Clinical Trial Finder. This tool allows you to find clinical trials in your area, by identifying clinical trials based on your myeloma status or genomic mutation or by your preferred method of treatment.