Shakira Grant, MBBS, a researcher with the University of North Carolina Center for Aging and Health, has been awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant to study the illness and treatment experiences and functional trajectories of older adults with multiple myeloma (MM) and their care partners.
According to a release about the grant, the needs of older adults with MM differ from those of other cancer populations. The median age of diagnosis of MM is about 70 years and most older adults have several other age-related health conditions.
As the number of available treatments for MM grows, there is an urgency to understand how the benefit and harms of these treatments shape functional capacity, quality of life, and the illness experience. In addition, Black Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with MM and to die from the disease. For older Black adults, this need is more urgent to reduce these disparate survival outcomes.
In her research Grant will evaluate disease-specific endpoints of MM plus measures of function and quality of life which are increasingly relevant to older adults, as they can profoundly shape the illness experience. The mixed-methods study will also use interviews with patients and care partners to obtain a comprehensive perspective on the true impact of MM and its treatments on the outcomes of this population.
Knowledge gained from this pilot observational study will inform the design of additional studies to develop and test interventions to support shared decision-making and a more individualized, person-centered approach to care for older adults with MM.