Treatment options are limited for patients with Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (WM), says Morie A. Gertz, MD. Combination therapies offer a potential solution, but the rarity of the disease is an obstacle. The disease occurs in roughly 4 patients per million, per year, making trials extremely difficult to cultivate, says Gertz, professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic.
“You figure about 18,000 new patients per year in the United States distributed among tens of thousands of medical oncologists, so a medical oncologist may see a new patient like this every three or four years,” says Gertz. “Meeting accrual targets and having enough activated centers so that patients can be enrolled can really be a challenge. So only a small number of centers are capable of producing these trials.” In an interview with Targeted Oncology, Gertz discusses this and other challenges for WM, combinations with potential, and what is on the horizon for treatment of the disease.
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