COVID-19 vaccination has proven to be remarkably effective in decreasing the infection rate from the COVID-19 virus. And, although a few fully vaccinated people have been infected with COVID-19, their infections are much milder, and hospitalization of fully vaccinated individuals is very rare.
The experience of patients diagnosed with different kinds of blood cancers, including multiple myeloma or its precursor conditions [including monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering myeloma (SMM)], who are fully vaccinated has been documented to be much different than the experience of the general population. Most patients diagnosed with blood cancers are immunocompromised, meaning that their immune systems are suppressed, both by the disease and by the therapies these patients may receive. As many as 20-25% of patients with myeloma or precursor conditions who are fully vaccinated may not be protected from the COVID-19 virus because their immune systems do not respond to the vaccine, or because their response to the vaccine is weak (Read more here). This has serious implications for the safely of these individuals, especially with the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, a version of the virus which is more easily transmitted from person to person and is now the dominant variant of the virus in the US.
In order to more fully understand how the immune systems of patients with myeloma and precursor conditions may interact with the COVID-19 virus or the vaccine, the MMRF is collaborating with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) on their IMPACT research study (Immune Profiling with Antibody-based COVID-19 Testing). The study will investigate changes in patients’ immune systems that may occur as a result of prior COVID-19 exposure or due to vaccination in the context of their multiple myeloma treatment where applicable.
The IMPACT study is a no-cost study open to patients diagnosed with myeloma, MGUS, or SMM who are enrolled in the DFCI PCROWD study, the DFCI PROMISE study, or the MMRF CureCloud study. Blood collection tubes will be shipped to each patient’s home for each prespecified timepoint, and blood samples can be drawn at a patient’s local Quest Diagnostics or during routine doctor visits. Patients who enroll in IMPACT can receive an initial blood test to screen for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, and are asked to provide additional blood samples at 3, 6, and 12 months after enrolling. The blood samples will be shipped to a lab for analysis. Patients who enroll will also be asked to answer a few questions over the 12-month period regarding their vaccination status, medications being taken, and other questions.
The data collected in the IMPACT study will help answer important questions about the effects of COVID-19 infection and vaccination in patients with myeloma and precursor conditions. This information could eventually lead to better COVID-19 treatment and/or prevention options for future patients. To enroll in the study, click here. If you have questions about the study or how to enroll, please email [email protected] or call 617-532-8544.