Helping Patients Navigate Advances in Medicine
At Incyte, Blood Cancer Awareness Month and MPN Awareness Day give us an important opportunity every year to educate and provide resources and support for those living with myeloproliferative neoplasms, a group of rare blood cancers often referred to as MPNs. We take this role very seriously. We know that people impacted by rare diseases like MPNs can often feel isolated, with a dearth of resources available leaving many questions.
But, as science and treatment options evolve, especially in cancer, what we are seeing today is that the challenges faced by patients with rare diseases aren’t so rare. In fact, advances in precision medicine and personalized care mean that a patient’s condition can be increasingly considered rare. In oncology, we have seen advances in individualized care — biomarkers, not only tumor location, are being used to identify patients who will benefit most from a particular treatment.
Smaller populations and customized treatment plans mean the amount of knowledge each physician, patient and caregiver will need to discuss and evaluate the best ways to treat a given condition is far greater than in the past. It means that pulling together support networks will require more effort and new tools.
In the MPN space, we are somewhat ahead of the curve because we are already operating in a world defined by a small patient population. As part of this space for over a decade, we’ve learned a lot about how we can best educate each other to help break down barriers and support patients and caregivers as they navigate various parts of the health care system.
So, during this time of year, as we come together to raise awareness of blood cancers and MPNs, we must remember that there is still work to be done and our challenge is twofold — discovery and development of innovative medicine must continue to address the vast medical need in this field. And we must continue to work to find solutions that will reduce isolation and ensure that every patient is receiving the quality care that they deserve.
The next wave of innovative medicines is an encouraging one from a therapeutic standpoint, but it also means that many patients and caregivers may find themselves looking for a new, rare community. For many of us, this is a familiar road and it’s one that we at Incyte are committed to helping as many people navigate as possible.