Imran Khan, MD, PhD, Vice President, US Hematology Medical Affairs, Janssen Oncology and Cindy Chmielewski*, a multiple myeloma patient advocate also known as The Myeloma Teacher, discuss the value of real-world evidence and the latest data that will be presented at the 2022 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting
Cindy Chmielewski (Chmielewski): The ASH Annual Meeting happens to be one of my favorite conferences. Every year, I come away feeling inspired by new developments in the treatment of blood cancers, particularly multiple myeloma since that’s the community I advocate for. Janssen Oncology has a significant presence at this year’s scientific meeting. I’m eager to hear what are you most excited about this year?
Imran Khan, MD, PhD (Khan): Cindy, like you, I look forward to ASH every year. As a clinician, what excites me most is seeing the hematology community come together with a singular focus on advancing the standards of care for patients with blood cancers. There has been remarkable progress in treating hematologic malignancies, particularly in multiple myeloma. However, as you know through your important advocacy work, there are still a lot of unmet needs for patients.
At Janssen, we’re committed to innovating to meet patient needs. We do this with a profound sense of urgency. At ASH, we’ll present clinical as well as real-world data in multiple myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma which further showcase the breadth, depth, and diversity of our portfolio and pipeline.
For example, some of our clinical research presentations will include updated efficacy and safety data for multiple myeloma treatments and insights on different mechanisms of action, patient populations, sequencing, and combinations that could lead to new ways to treat patients.
Beyond our clinical trial research, we will present some exciting new real-world data, including one of the first presentations comparing two different medicines in the same class for the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma, as well as a retrospective study designed to help us better understand disparities across patient subpopulations in multiple myeloma. Among other presentations, we will also share a targeted, retrospective analysis examining the feasibility of social media data as real-world data in demonstrating unmet needs and the value of innovative therapy from patient and caregiver perspectives.
Chmielewski: As a patient advocate, I hear more and more about real-world evidence. Can you talk about how real-world evidence differs from the insights generated from clinical trials?
Khan: Good question. As you know, clinical trials collect and analyze data on patients while they are enrolled in a rigorously designed study examining the efficacy and safety of a medicine. With real-world data, we get a better perspective of how the medicine is functioning and how it is impacting the patient’s life. Real-world evidence is playing an increasingly important role in healthcare decisions, so much that the FDA recently developed guidelines and tools for its potential use in clinical practice. The FDA also recently announced a new program, the Advancing Real-World Evidence Program, to improve the quality and acceptability of real-world evidence-based approaches that can meet regulatory and post-approval study requirements. We need to have both so that the oncology community can better understand how medicines work in real-life settings common in routine clinical practice to better serve patient needs.
Chmielewski: Can real-world evidence play a role in identifying and reducing health disparities?
Khan: Many factors impact patient outcomes outside of the clinical trial setting. That’s why Janssen is invested in leading clinical research as well as real-world evidence and data generation. To address health disparities, we need comprehensive data from a variety of sources. Real-world data, including electronic health record (EHR) data, claims, patient-reported outcomes, and disease registries enable us to better compare diverse cohorts, identify treatment patterns, analyze outcomes, and understand real-life care situations. At Janssen, we are also focused on engaging patients from all backgrounds in clinical trials while supporting research that seeks to understand and overcome barriers to clinical trial participation.
Chmielewski: How has real-world evidence advanced your understanding of different blood cancers and impacted where you’re focusing your efforts to meet patient needs?
Khan: In multiple myeloma, we have developed therapies along the disease continuum with different modalities and mechanisms. So, we have generated a great deal of clinical data and are committed to understanding how we can continue to advance the treatment of this disease from newly diagnosed patients through advanced, highly refractory disease. In addition to this large body of clinical evidence, real-world evidence gives us a more comprehensive picture of how therapies impact patient populations outside of the trial setting, for example at community hospitals. Both types of data are essential to helping us better understand patient needs.
Chmielewski: Is there anything else you want to share about Janssen’s approach to improving oncology care through the development of real-world data, tools, and insights?
Khan: At Janssen Oncology, we are inspired by our mission to reimagine care so patients can redefine living. This is reflected in our strong commitment to not only develop innovative medicines, but to listening, learning, and ultimately understanding the needs of the hematology/oncology community. We’ll continue to advance our knowledge through clinical research and real-world evidence to help all practitioners make the very best treatment decisions and improve care for patients.
To learn more about Janssen Oncology’s presence at ASH and the company’s commitment to patients, visit jnj.com/oncology.
*Chmielewski was compensated by Janssen for her participation in this interview.
Cindy Chmielewski is a retired teacher who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008. Cindy’s current focus is using her passion for education to teach a new group of “students” – myeloma patients and their caregivers. She tweets about myeloma @myelomateacher and participates in several online support communities. Cindy also mentors myeloma patients and speaks at support groups encouraging patients to be active participants in their health care.
Imran Khan, MD, PhD, is Vice President, US Hematology Medical Affairs, Janssen Oncology.