Today, myeloma patients are living longer because of better therapies developed through clinical trials. Unfortunately for patients, clinical trials are often difficult to find and even harder to understand.
Only a small number of myeloma patients will ever participate in a clinical trial. This leads to lengthy delays in new drug development and means that it takes even longer for patients to gain access to these newer, better treatments.
At SparkCures, our goal is to make it simple and easy for myeloma patients to find, understand and connect with eligible clinical trials.
My name is Brian McMahon. I'm the founder of SparkCures and a four-time cancer caregiver.
The search for clinical trials takes on a very personal note for me because my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2005. She received a poor prognosis due to genetic factors and a late diagnosis. Within three weeks, we had her enrolled in a clinical trial. Participating in that trial gave my family two additional years with my mother that the doctors never thought would be possible.
Since then, I’ve cared for family members and friends who were diagnosed with cancer. As a caregiver, I’ve had clinical trial conversations with doctors from the University of Arkansas to Dana-Farber and a half dozen hospitals in between. I’ve used dozens of advocacy groups and websites to search for clinical trials.
I know how difficult it is to find them, to understand them and to have these conversations. I also know that there is a better way to help patients and caregivers understand and discover eligible clinical trials.
That's why I started SparkCures. We are here to help. If you have any questions or would like to connect with us, please feel free to call us at (888) 828-2206 or you can email me directly at BRIAN at SPARKCURES.com.
The path towards newer, better treatments for myeloma patients is through clinical trials. Through our unique collaboration with the myeloma community, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies, SparkCures makes it easy for myeloma patients to find, understand and join eligible clinical trials.
Our clinical trial matching service is always free for patients. As a for-profit company, our services are supported through partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. These companies sponsor trials and provide us with financial support as well as accurate, patient-friendly information on their clinical trials that oftentimes is not publicly available elsewhere.
As part of this partnership, we provide anonymous reports on clinical trial searches to our pharmaceutical and hospital partners. We
If you have any questions at all regarding our service, how it works or how we are supported, please feel free to call Brian McMahon, our CEO, directly at (888) 828-2206.
Our Patient Advisory Board is a volunteer group of myeloma patients. They provide feedback and guidance to help make sure that:
Multiple Myeloma Patient, 28 Year Survivor
"At my cancer center, there are a couple of flyers on the wall for clinical trials and they've been there for two years - the same ones with the same dates. This is what we're up against and this is why SparkCures is so beneficial to patients. It's a great service. I feel secure knowing that they are there to help me find and understand my clinical trial options."
Multiple Myeloma Patient
"As a myeloma patient, I fully understand how critically important it is to participate in clinical trials. First, patients get the best treatment or the new best treatment available. Second, clinical trials are the only way a cure will be found. It's a win-win. I have participated in a clinical trial and highly recommend it to any patient."
Smoldering Multiple Myeloma Patient
"The bottom line is that you have to look at clinical trials. You have to remember that the standard of care for myeloma patients is not working. If it were, we'd be curing all myeloma patients now."
Dana is a smoldering multiple myeloma patient and the creator of the Smoldering "Asymptomatic" Multiple Myeloma (SMM) Facebook Group. It's a group dedicated to information exchange for patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Smoldering "Asymptomatic" Multiple Myeloma (SMM).
Multiple Myeloma Caregiver
"When my husband was diagnosed with high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma, we both went into shock. The process of educating ourselves about doctors and treatments and trials was daunting. We quickly learned that this cancer has NO CURE and that the current SOC (Standard of Care) cannot even guarantee remission. Given this, with the encouragement of every doctor we consulted with, we moved on to looking for clinical trials in the belief that cutting edge research with new drugs could be our best path forward toward either a cure or remission. We have never been treated like guinea pigs and none of the trials we've considered have placebo options to them. We encourage everyone facing this disease at any stage, to give serious consideration to clinical trials."
Our Medical Advisory Board is a group of myeloma specialists who provide feedback and guidance to help ensure:
Assistant Professor, Nursing, College of Science and Health, DePaul University, President-Elect, Chicago Chapter of Oncology Nursing Society
Dr. Joseph Tariman obtained his PhD in June 2011 at the University of Washington, where his research fellowship was funded by National Institute of Health and the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation. He obtained his BSN from University of the Visayas in 1991, Master of Arts in Nursing at Cebu Doctors’ University in 1993, and a post-Master’s certificate in Adult Health Nurse Practitioner at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida in 2001. He has worked as an advanced practice nurse from 2002-2006 and 2010 to 2014 at Northwestern University Myeloma Program in Chicago, where one of his primary responsibilities was sub-principal investigator for all phase 1 and 2 clinical therapeutic trials for myeloma. He is currently a member of the core faculty for the Adult-Gerontology Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at De Paul University in Chicago, IL.
Dr. Tariman edited a groundbreaking nursing book on multiple myeloma published by the Oncology Nursing Society in 2010. He is the co-editor of Multiple Myeloma: A Textbook for Nurses (Second Edition) (published by the Oncology Nursing Society in July 2015). He has authored over 80 published articles, abstracts, monographs, and five book chapters on various topics including multiple myeloma. His research interests include cancer treatment decision making, clinical trial accrual, patient and caregiver education, quality of life issues and patient reported outcomes, particularly in the older adult cancer patient population.
He has served in numerous advisory and editorial boards such as ONS Connect, Advance for Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, The Oncology Nurse, the International Myeloma Foundation’s Nurse Leadership Board and the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2011 Honored Nurse of the Year Award from the Chicago Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; 2012 Nurse of the Year Award from Leukemia Research Foundation; and 2013 ONS Publishing’s Outstanding Achievement for Oncology Nursing Education or Family/Patient Education.
"Clinical trials are a great way to be part of making cancer history."
Dr. Hofmeister was recruited to The Ohio State University (OSU) in August 2006 with a focus on clinical and translational research in multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer with an average survival of 4-10 years. Since 2006, the program has transformed to one of the largest myeloma programs in the nation.
Dr. Hofmeister is now an associate professor in the division of hematology at The Ohio State University, and is the research lead for the section of plasma cell dyscrasias which includes two clinician investigators (Drs. Yvonne Efebera and Ashley Rosko), one physician scientist (Dr. Don Benson), and one PhD scientist (Dr. Flavia Pichiorri).
His research focus is on early phase clinical trials in relapsed myeloma, as well as epidemiologic research through the formation of a statewide myeloma registry termed The Ohio Myeloma Initiative. He created the tissue bank at Ohio State that is associated with our myeloma registry and is in charge of preserving and annotating peripheral blood and marrow aspirates from all patients with plasma cell dyscrasias.
The research of Shaji Kumar, M.D., focuses on development of novel drugs for treatment of myeloma. Dr. Kumar's research team evaluates the in vitro activity of novel drugs that, based on their mechanisms of action, are likely to have activity in the setting of myeloma. Promising drugs are brought into the clinic through early-stage clinical trials in Phase I or II studies.
Dr. Kumar also evaluates novel combinations of different drugs to identify synergistic combinations that can result in better treatment responses and eventually better patient outcomes. His work on drug development is complemented by an active program studying the biology of myeloma, with a focus on the study of bone marrow microenvironment in multiple myeloma and how it influences the tumor cells, especially the increased bone marrow microvessels seen in myeloma. His clinical research focuses on outcomes of patients with myeloma and amyloidosis, especially high-risk disease.
Ann received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Rutgers University and spent many years in the pathology department at Hackensack University Medical Center, working in the field of blood transfusion technology. She served as an adjunct professor in the Allied Health Division of a local community college teaching the principles and techniques of blood transfusions.
Wanting to leave the laboratory setting for an opportunity to have more direct patient contact, Ann decided to return to school to obtain her nursing degree. In 1995, she completed her Associate’s Degree in Nursing at Bergen Community College and then went on to pursue a BSN and an MSN at Felician College, with a focus on the adult nurse practitioner role.
Ann joined the John Theurer Cancer Center at the medical center in 2003, where she began as an infusion nurse. Her current role as a nurse practitioner in the Multiple Myeloma Division allows her to provide direct patient care, as well as educate patients and their caregivers with regard to overall disease management and treatment options. Ann’s responsibilities include the education of new oncology nurses at the Cancer Center, as well as the facilitation of a large multiple myeloma support group for patients and their loved ones that meets monthly at the center.
Ann is certified in her field of practice and her membership includes The Oncology Nursing Society, as well as the NJSNA, a division of the American Nurses Association. She is also a member of the International Myeloma Foundation’s Nurse Leadership Board, a national consortium of 20+ nurses whose work focuses exclusively on the care of patients with multiple myeloma. She is an author on several abstracts and publications in peer-reviewed journals.
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