Dr Robert Rifkin Discusses Barriers, Biomarkers in Multiple Myeloma
The biggest barrier to positive clinical outcomes in multiple myeloma is access, explained Robert Rifkin, MD, FACP, medical director, biosimilars and associate chair, hematology research, McKesson Specialty Health.
What are the biggest barriers to positive clinical outcomes in multiple myeloma?
I think the barriers are interesting. Certainly, one of them is going to be access. So, there’s a lot being done to improve access to minorities. There’s a whole demographic out there about multiple myeloma in African Americans, and when you slice through all of the data, perhaps the biggest barrier to good outcomes is access to clinical care. So, within the myeloma community, there’s a large effort to see if we can erase that and make things readily available to everyone.
What biomarkers guide treatment protocol in multiple myeloma?
With multiple myeloma, we’re actually in a unique era. Before we used to just stage patients and sort of determine treatment based on stage. Now, it’s considerably more complicated with that, and we’re starting and continuing to do risk stratification, and there’s a lot of debate about who is high risk and who is not. And then I think in this day and age, we’re very fortunate in that we have a lot of agents to pick from and we have a lot of frail elderly multiple myeloma patients where you can now sort of design a very nice regimen that will be effective and well tolerated. So, I think the barriers are really the racial minority barrier and then also finding stuff that we can treat elderly and frail patients with because myeloma is still a disease of the elderly.