Study Launches to Learn More About Myeloma Risk Factors and the Body's Immune Response
On November 15, Irene Ghobrial, M.D. and her expert research team at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, launched the IMPACT Study. Through this research, Dr. Ghobrial and team will learn how COVID-19 affects the immune system of healthy people who are at an increased risk for the blood cancer, multiple myeloma, or are living with one of its precursor conditions (such as MGUS - monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance - or smoldering myeloma.)
How Many People Might This Study Affect?
These precursor conditions are very common. In fact, millions of people are living with these conditions but they are often unaware because medical testing is not routinely ordered. MGUS and smoldering myeloma are most common in African and Black Americans and people older than 40. These are the same people who are also disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
This study focuses on how COVID-19 may cause changes to these people’s immune system. It's a critical opportunity that may provide insight into how best to treat COVID-19 patients who are also at increased risk for blood cancers. It will be important to understand how these patients are likely to respond to a COVID-19 vaccine. The IMPACT Study will also help us understand how people with MGUS and smoldering myeloma may be affected by COVID-19 and if it further negatively impacts their immune system.
The IMPACT Study offers free antibody testing. All participants will receive a free antibody test to determine if they have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Blood samples taken over the course of one year will be analyzed to assess how participants’ immune systems changed over time. The study will also answer such questions as:
How well does this group have the ability to fight off COVID-19 if they become exposed?
How will their immune cells respond when a vaccine is available if they also have risks for blood cancer?
Do blood samples have more T, B or NK cells which can impact their ability to fight off diseases and infections?