Key Questions In Need of Answers
In late 2020, we are nine months into the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic and the numbers of people diagnosed with the virus is rapidly increasing.
Researchers are anxious to understand several important questions such as:
Why are some people more susceptible to the virus than others?
Who should be prepared for a worse outcome if they are exposed to the COVID-19 virus?
What will be the effectiveness of a vaccine on different patient populations?
Who might have anomalies in their body's immune response?
Does that mean they should take extra precautions after they are vaccinated?
The newly launched IMPACT Study aims to contribute to a large body of medical and scientific research striving to answer such questions about the effect of the COVID-19 virus and a potential vaccine.
Under the leadership of Irene Ghobrial, M.D. of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and her team of experts in blood cancer research, The IMPACT Study will start to examine how the immune system responds to the COVID-19 virus in healthy people and people with precursor conditions like MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance) and smoldering myeloma that can eventually develop into multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.
The IMPACT Study is an affiliate study of the PROMISE and PCROWD Studies so people must be enrolled in one of these studies in order to participate. By working with these two study groups, Dr. Ghobrial and team will have access to an existing controlled study group where they are already comparing the cells of normal healthy people at increased risk for blood cancer (PROMISE Study) versus people with MGUS or smoldering myeloma (PCROWD Study). People with MGUS or smoldering myeloma have plasma cell problems that weaken their immune system. Working with this existing study group allows the research team to easily study blood samples of people before and after they had the COVID-19 virus.
Research findings and scientific discoveries will be immediately shared with study participants. They will not have to wait for the findings to be published in medical journals. This will help people better understand their own immune systems and follow the science that matters to them. The research team aims to help them answer many important questions about their own risks they are taking every day in this COVID-19 environment, how might their bodies respond to the virus, and what to expect from the vaccine when it becomes available.