Cancer Research Trial First Choice for Treatment

“A lot of people think a clinical trial is a last resort, but I am receiving one of the newest combinations of drugs available for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma,” Mimi de Vries Dickson explains. A researcher in Bar Harbor diagnosed in late 2015, Mimi recognizes the importance of using clinical trials to advance medical therapies, but she knows that there are misconceptions about what research means. For her, it meant a triple drug therapy, a stem cell harvest for a possible transplant later, and a maintenance therapy taken orally.

Mimi did not hesitate to sign up for this particular trial. “My oncologist always has my best interest at heart, and I know there are lots of checks and balances and oversight built into clinical research to keep patients safe.” Mimi has a team of caregivers looking out for her, including clinical research nurses who frequently check in to see how she is doing, monitor trial results, and provide education about her diagnosis. Mimi recently participated in an educational conference about multiple myeloma via live-stream from Boston, without leaving the comfort of her home.

EMMC Cancer Care and Dana-Farber are working together to manage Mimi’s treatment. Her healthcare team includes Dana-Farber specialists who consult with Catherine Chodkiewicz, MD, her oncologist at EMMC Cancer Care in Brewer, to recommend the best approach to fighting Mimi’s disease.

Now on a maintenance medication, Mimi attributes her positive response to joining a clinical trial, and she knows that just 20 years ago, myeloma patients did not see such positive outcomes.

“I hope patients become more comfortable with the concept of clinical trials, because each time researchers learn more about how patients respond to specific drugs, it adds another layer of information, which advances science and treatment,” says Mimi. “I want my diagnosis to be another layer. If these results can benefit future patients, it means my cancer is something more than just a disease. It’s part of a future cure.”