Muhamed Baljevic, MD
University of Nebraska
Interview Date: May 28, 2018
Many patients’ myeloma can become resistant to an important class of drugs use for myeloma care – proteasome inhibitors. Most patients (70%) will respond to these drugs as single therapies but some patients can be resistant initially. Researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Nebraska found that expression of a gene called MUC20 could help predict how sensitive or resistant patients would be to proteasome inhibitors. They also found that the MUC20 protein could be potentially impacted by an already FDA-approved drug offered by Amgen called cabozantinib.
Dr. Baljevic shares a clinical trial using cabozantinib with carfilzomib for patients who have become refractory (resistant) to carfilzomib. The study is open at the University of Nebraska and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Cabozantinib has shown the ability to reverse the resistance to proteasome inhibitors.
To find this clinical trial on SparkCures, click here:
Dr. Baljevic on Myeloma Crowd Radio
Jenny: Welcome to today’s episode of Myeloma Crowd Radio, a show that connects patients with myeloma researchers. I’m your host, Jenny Ahlstrom. We’d like to thank our episode sponsor, Celgene Corporation, for their support of Myeloma Crowd Radio. Now before we begin our show, I’d like to remind everyone that we are launching a new product to help myeloma patients optimize their care, find the best treatment options, find and understand more about clinical trials, track their labs if they want to, see collective reporting about our myeloma experience while at the same time helping myeloma researchers advance a cure for us. That product is called HealthTree. We’re launching that this summer. We have a 50+ city tour happening that you can go to www.myelomacrowd.org/healthtree and find the locations that we have so far. You can keep watching that page because we will continue to add locations that we’ll be coming to over the summer. So watch for that on that page and in our newsletter. We are so excited about this project.
Now, today we have an important show to discuss. we are talking about proteasome inhibitors. In a lot of situations, myeloma patients become resistant to proteasome inhibitors. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Muhamed Baljevic at a meeting recently. We started talking about his research. It became clear that I really wanted to have him on the show.
Dr. Baljevic, I am so happy that you’re joining us today. I would like to welcome you to the program.
Dr. Baljevic: Thank you very much. It’s such a pleasure to be part of your show and to communicate with your listeners.
Jenny: Well, let me introduce you before we get started. Dr. Baljevic is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Nebraska. Dr. Baljevic moved to Doha, Qatar on an academic scholarship in 2001 where he completed secondary, undergraduate and medical education. He was the first student of the Qatar campus to take a year off of medical studies to perform medical research, having worked at the Ansary Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. In parallel to his fellowship, he pursued a Master’s Degree in Clinical and Translational Research at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas. He has been a recipient of many scholarships, honors and awards, most recently the 2014 Celgene Future Leaders in Hematology Award for Clinical Research and the 2015 ASCO/AACR Workshop on Methods in Clinical Cancer Research. He has contributed to publications in prestigious journals including Nature Medicine, Cancer Cell, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Circulation Research, Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America, and several chapters by invitation.
Dr. Baljevic, we’re so happy that you’re here. Let’s get started.
Dr. Baljevic: Well, thank you very much again, Jenny. Please allow me the opportunity to thank you personally for such a wonderful work that you do. As you mentioned, we had the chance to meet and discuss several important topics when it comes to multiple myeloma and patient care. It became really clear to me the quality of work that you do and the platform that you are establishing for all of our myeloma patients. The access which they have through those platforms is really invaluable. So as a provider, as a physician who focuses on the care of these patients, I truly just want to thank you for such an important and wonderful work that you do.
Jenny: Wow, thank you for saying that. My goal is to just help as many patients as possible understand how to get the best care because it really would make hundreds of different or maybe even thousands of years of life with all of us collectively. Thank you.
Dr. Baljevic: Of course, certainly.
Jenny: So maybe we begin by you providing an overview of just in general about proteasome inhibitors because some patients may be really familiar with them and some m