Treating Acute Myeloid Leukemia Starts With Good Quality Data

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The motive of the study wasn't to implement hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) programs worldwide, but as a contribution to comprehensive cancer control efforts.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) serves as an effective therapy for patients with acute myeloid luekemia (AML), and while the practice continues to grow internationally, notable variation in regional utilization was revealed by a recent global analysis.

Having access to good quality data might be assumed as the standard, but that's not the case for many fields of medicine, particularly with rare diseases. According to lead investigator Molly Tokaz, MD, Senior Research Fellow, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, consistent data collection needs to be prioritized going forward.

"We can only address the problems we're aware of," she explained in an interview HCPLive. "And really having that is the first step in being able to take those steps forward and those gaps are very real."

When data are gathered, it's also crucial to organize the information to be of collaborative use. Organizations like the Worldwide Network for Blood & Marrow Transplantation (WBMT) and the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study are continuously working to address the gaps in data collection.

"At a national level, hopefully (the data) can be used in the setting in which it's collected to try to affect change," Tokaz said. "But then having the international perspective and bringing these together to understand where our big gaps are, and to try to engage some of our larger international bodies, like the WHO (World Health Orginization), and having these collaborative efforts that can shine a light on the biggest gaps, or the biggest areas needing improvement."

The motive of the study wasn't to implement transplant programs worldwide, but as a contribution to comprehensive cancer control efforts, according to investigator Lisa Force, MD, MPH, who serves as the Team Lead of Global Burden of Disease Study at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washinton, Seattle.

"There's a lot of need to think about supportive care—meaning transfusion, blood bank capacity, management of infections, being able to diagnose and determine who is high risk, etc.," she said. "There are lot of pieces to thinking about appropriately trying to provide care for patients with AML, and transplant as part of that, but not the sole solution."

To learn more about the research from the Global Burden of Disease Study, watch the rest of HCPLive's interview with Dr. Molly Tokaz and Dr. Lisa Force.