Breaking Down Barriers to Care in Myeloma (Guest blog)

Multiple myeloma is the third most common blood cancer worldwide, and while it’s considered treatable, it remains incurable.[1] Coming out of Myeloma Awareness Month, we’re committed to driving advancements for multiple myeloma patients and the broader community all year long. Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed more innovation in multiple myeloma treatment than the 100 years before.[2] With a deeper understanding of this disease and better treatment approaches that address the whole person, people are living longer lives.

Despite significant advances, multiple myeloma is still one of the most challenging blood cancers and remains incurable. Barriers to care still exist with factors such as socioeconomic status, rural-urban residence, and insurance coverage all playing a potential role in poorer health outcomes for patients living with multiple myeloma.[3] Multiple myeloma disproportionately impacts Black people, and this population has two times the rate of mortality from multiple myeloma compared to white people.[4] This underscores the critical need to improve outreach and education efforts in the Black patient community, and enhance clinical trial diversity. A lack of representation in clinical trials can result in gaps in knowledge about the safety and efficacy of treatments for underrepresented patient populations.
At GSK, we are confronting inequities and harnessing grassroots efforts to help more patients benefit from scientific developments. We know that increasing representation is not only possible, it is necessary, and we’re continuing to work with the community to make true representation a reality. By developing treatments that work differently, we can provide patients with novel ways to treat this cancer and potentially improve outcomes. We must continue to investigate the most promising potential treatment sequences, and how different therapies can best be combined with other multiple myeloma treatments.

By collaborating with academia and industry, and putting patients first, we are working to get ahead of multiple myeloma to extend survival rates and improve quality of life for patients around the world. We know cancer is complex and that patients struggle with access to care, emotional distress and disparities in outcomes. Finding new ways to address barriers led GSK to create Target the Future, an international, multi-year initiative dedicated to advancing innovation, fostering understanding of key needs in the multiple myeloma community, and facilitating tangible solutions. The Think Tank Challenge is a call to the global community to submit the best ideas to address challenges faced.

Tania Small

Tania Small is Vice President, Global Head of Oncology Medical Affairs and Chair of R&D Diversity, Equity and...
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Indranil Bagchi

Indranil Bagchi is Vice President of Global Pricing and Market Access at GSK
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The oncology community has proved that we can make exponential impact for patients, but it is imperative that we do more. As we develop ideas to help improve patient outcomes, we must ensure better access for all. We are committed to accepting the challenges faced and finding ways to work together with other key stakeholders to change the trajectory of multiple myeloma.

[1] Sung H, Ferlay J, Siegel R, et al. Global Cancer Statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021;71(3):209-249. doi:10.3322/caac.21660
[2] Cowan AJ, Allen C, Barac A, et al. Global Burden of Multiple Myeloma: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. JAMA Oncol. 2018;4(9)1221-1227. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.2128.
[3] “Disparities.” 2022,
[4] Marinac, C.R., Ghobrial, I.M., Birmann, B.M., et al. Dissecting racial disparities in multiple myeloma. Blood Cancer J. 10, 19 (2020).