Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, New Advancements, Groundbreaking Clinical Trials and Latest Treatments - Dipti Patel-Donnelly MD

VCS Practice Blog

March 25, 2019
Virginia Cancer Specialists » VCS Practice News » Cancer Types » VCS Practice News » Multiple Myeloma » Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, New Advancements, Groundbreaking Clinical Trials and Latest Treatments – Dipti Patel-Donnelly MD

Multiple Myeloma is the second most common cancer of the blood.  It represents approximately 1.8% of all new cancer cases in the US and frequently is diagnosed in patients who are greater than 65 years old.  It could have devastating effects with low blood counts, decreased kidney function, bone damage, and an overall increased risk of infection.

Precision medicine has been the overreaching quest over the last decade.  As we begin to understand the mechanisms driving normal plasma cells to transform into myeloma cells, there has been an explosion of new treatments that have targeted different pathways that cause Myeloma to proliferate.  In a disease that may have only had a handful of treatments up until the late 1990s, there have been 15 new drugs that have been approved to treat this disease over the last 11 years.  Many of them work synergistically in combination, and offer deeper and quicker remissions, as well as an overall survival benefit.  Patients are living longer with multiple myeloma due to these advances.

The cornerstone of these advances are the genomic studies that further aid in drug development.  Virginia Cancer Specialists has been an integral part of this research.  We started with the CoMMpass study in 2011, in which Multiple Myeloma patients had further genomic analysis of their disease at the initiation of therapy as well as throughout therapy.  The initial CoMMpass studies revealed that Multiple Myeloma is quite heterogeneous, even more than previously understood. This longitudinal approach allows us to understand what possible mutations were driving these diseases.

A combination of two previous CoMMpass studies have primed the field for a groundbreaking research study that is soon to open nationally and locally at Virginia Cancer Specialists.  The MyDRUG (Myeloma-Developing Regimens Using Genomics) is intended to use information that we have learned in previous studies and to tailor therapy on an individual basis.   This is a national study that will allow Myeloma patients to have individual genomic testing, and then based on their mutational analysis be placed into different treatment arms.  This approach is the definition of precision medicine and with it comes the hope of optimizing Myeloma treatment response and minimizing its toxicity.

We are excited to be part of these innovative clinical trials, such as the MyDRUG study. It is a very hopeful and exciting time to be treating Myeloma.

Dipti Patel-Donnelly, M.D.

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                            [post_content] => Dr. Patel-Donnelly is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. She completed her fellowship in Medical Oncology and Hematology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Patel-Donnelly received her Doctorate of Medicine and completed her Internal Medicine Internship and Residency from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, New York, and she is a magna cum laude graduate in biochemistry with honors and independent research from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York.

Dr. Patel-Donnelly has taken an active role at Virginia Cancer Specialists and in the local and medical communities. Dr. Patel-Donnelly holds memberships and appointments in multiple organizations. She is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the Medical Society of Virginia. Focusing on a special interest in hematologic malignancies, brain tumors, and stem cell transplant, Dr. Patel-Donnelly has become highly involved in local tumor boards and has served as Section Chief of Hematology/Oncology at Inova Fairfax Hospital and has held a Hematology/Oncology Faculty Clerkship appointment at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Patel-Donnelly has also received multiple awards and honors which include the Harvard Partners in Excellence Award, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Relentless for a Cure” award, Excellence in Teaching Awards, National Institutes of Health Research Fellowship, NASE Achievement Scholarship, and Distinguished Honors and Independent Research in Biochemistry. Dr. Patel-Donnelly has been consistently named as a Top Doctor in publications such as Northern Virginia Magazine and Washingtonian magazine. Additionally, she has been listed as a “Castle Connolly Mid-Atlantic Top Doctor and a Washington Post Super Doctor”. Dr. Patel-Donnelly is a published author and has spoken both at local educational events and at national and local news interviews.

Dr. Patel-Donnelly is a member of several, prestigious, national committees. She is on the highly-selective, national panel tasked with writing Oncology Board questions for the American Board of Internal Medicine, which certifies that medical oncologists have a competent fund of knowledge to be board-certified and practice. She has also been selected to serve on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Leukemia Guideline Committee, which reviews current research evidence and makes uniform guidelines on treating leukemia. Dr. Patel-Donnelly is currently an Assistant Professor, in the Department of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Patel-Donnelly lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, running, traveling, and reading.

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