Investigating CAR T-Cell Therapy Wait Time and High-Risk Disease Definitions in Myeloma With Samer Al Hadidi, MD, MS, FACP

At the recent 64th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Dr. Samer Al Hadidi, Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas, sat down with Oncology Data Advisor to discuss the multiple myeloma research that he presented. Dr. Al Hadidi elaborates on his studies regarding the wait list for patients who are eligible to receive chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy and the variability of definitions of high-risk disease in myeloma clinical trials.  

This podcast episode was recorded live by Oncology Data Advisor and ConveyMED at the 2022 ASH Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Oncology Data Advisor: Welcome to Oncology Data Advisor. Today we’re here at the ASH Annual Meeting, and I’m joined by Dr. Samer Al Hadidi, who’s here to talk about two of his studies. Thanks so much for joining today.

Samer Al Hadidi, MD, MS, FACP: Thank you for having me. I’m Samer Al Hadidi. I’m an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas, where I practice and see myeloma patients and do transplants.

At this conference, we presented multiple papers. One of the most important ones we did was investigating the wait list for patients on the CAR T-cell therapy list. Those patients are usually relapsed/refractory myeloma patients, so they’ve exhausted multiple lines of therapies, and they were put on the list because they need this therapy.

What we found was that despite the approval of this product, patients are waiting for a long period of time before they’re able to get it. On average, it takes them up to four months to get a slot to start the process, and it takes up to 5.5 months, close to six months, to get the actual product. Actually, while waiting, one out of four patients died while waiting for a slot.

That signifies the need for more access to those therapies across the US, because we think that there was limited access for them last year, and the lack of availability is due to manufacturing problems and centers being new to the process.

Oncology Data Advisor. Thanks for explaining. And your other study is about high-risk disease definitions in myeloma?

Oncology Data Advisor: Yes. We were interested to see if we have a solid definition of high-risk disease, because high-risk disease in myeloma tend to behave differently and cause patients to have different outcomes. The problem is that various studies define it in various ways.

What we did is we looked at all the phase 3 clinical trials in myeloma that are the most important trials bringing drugs to market, and we found extreme variability between the definitions in those trials. Also, moreover, when we use any criteria to define high risk, we lack a percentage of definition, which is a cutoff value to define that as high risk.

We think this is important because defining high-risk will be the first step to identify those patients and try to study different maneuvers of treatments to help them, and we think with the current schema of various definition, that would be really difficult to do.

Oncology Data Advisor: Anything else you’d like to share either about your studies or about your experience at ASH?

Dr. Al Hadidi: Overall, it’s a great experience. We’re back in person. There are multiple excellent studies across all hematological diseases, including benign diseases and malignant cancers. We’re excited in the field of myeloma that there are many new agents with promising activity that may help patients who need them, but that remains an optimistic view. We need to wait more and see how those agents will do in better studies.

Oncology Data Advisor: Great, thanks much for stopping by and talking about this.

Dr. Al Hadidi: Thank you so much.

Thank you for listening to this podcast recorded live at the 2022 ASH Annual Meeting by Oncology Data Advisor and ConveyMED. For more expert perspectives on the latest in cancer research and treatment, be sure to subscribe to the podcast at and Don’t forget to follow us on social media for news, exclusive interviews, and more!

About Dr. Al Hadidi

Samer Al Hadidi, MD, MS, FACP, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS), a hematologist/oncologist at UAMS Myeloma Center, and an Associate Member in the Developmental Therapeutics Research Program at UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Dr. Al Hadidi’s research interests include the prevention, treatment, detection, and prognosis of multiple myeloma, particularly health disparities among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic minority groups. He has authored or coauthored numerous publications focused on improving treatment outcomes among patients with multiple myeloma.

For More Information

Za’nouneh FJA, Ababneh O, Schinke C, et al et al (2022). Variability of definition of high-risk multiple myeloma in phase III clinical trials [oral presentation]. 64th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting. Abstract 4545.

Al Hadidi S, Szabo A, Esselmann J, et al (2022). Clinical outcomes of patients with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma listed for BCMA directed commercial CAR T therapy. 64th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting. Abstract 3588.

Transcript edited for clarity. Any views expressed above are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Oncology Data Advisor. 

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