Inspired to Reduce Cancer Disparities and Help Those in Need

Dr. Samer Al Hadidi treats patients with myeloma and other plasma cell disorders. He joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s Myeloma Center in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in 2022 and also serves as an assistant professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Hematology and Oncology.

Al Hadidi completed his fellowship in hematology/oncology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he focused on cell and gene therapy. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Michigan State University in Flint and received a master’s degree in clinical research and statistical analysis from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He received his medical degree from the University of Jordanin Amman.

While in training in Flint, Michigan, he encountered many patients with limited resources, which affected their access to therapy and treatment. He has focused on studying and researching health disparities among Black patients and other minorities for the past six years.

Al Hadidi and his colleagues recently published, “Geographic and Racial Disparities in Access to Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T Cells and Bispecific Antibodies Trials for Multiple Myeloma” in JAMA Network Open. They examined whether there is equitable geographic access to chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T) and bispecific antibodies trials for patients with myeloma in the United States. This is crucial because many patients with myeloma are Black.

Findings from this cross-sectional study of data from 69 clinical trials in the United States showed that 34% of the states analyzed had no CAR-T or bispecific clinical trial openings and that there are limited open sites in states with the highest percentages of Black residents. These results suggest that the current CAR-T and bispecific antibodies trials for myeloma do not offer equitable access for Black patients.

This is just the latest of many examples of Al Hadidi’s research focusing on health equity among minorities. Blacks individuals are at more than twice the risk of developing myeloma and more likely to receive a diagnosis at a younger age.

Long before this study, Al Hadidi was an author on papers of population-based research on the health disparities that Black and Hispanic patients with myeloma have experienced following their diagnoses. He has also studied and written about the current challenges to having Black patients with myeloma participate in cancer clinical trials, noting that racial disparities persist in the care of and outcomes for minority patients, and he has proposed solutions for the issue.

In 2021, Dr. Al Hadidi chaired and moderated the American Society of Hematology Diversity and Equity Poster Walk and held several interviews discussing racial disparities in myeloma treatment, including that Black patients are underrepresented in CAR-T trials.

Here are some of papers that Al Hadidi co-authored and media coverage on the studies:

  1. “Enrollment of black participants in pivotal clinical trials supporting us food and drug administration approval of chimeric antigen receptor–t cell therapy for hematological malignant neoplasms.” Published in Jama Network Open, April 2022.
  2. “Health disparities experienced by Black and Hispanic Americans with multiple myeloma in the United States: a population-based study.” Published in Leukemia & Lymphoma in December 2021.
  3. “Participation of Black Americans in cancer clinical trials: current challenges and proposed solutions.” Published in JCO Oncology Practice in May 2021. 
  4. “Participation of African American persons in clinical trials supporting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of cancer drugs.” Published in Annals of Internal Medicine in August 2020.
  5. Study finds ‘substantial’ underrepresentation of Black patients in CAR-T clinical trials. May 2022, healio.com
  6. Dearth of participation from black patients noted in CAR T clinical trials supporting FDA approvals. May 2022, cancernetwork.com
  7. Racial disparities persist in multiple myeloma care, outcomes. July 2021, medicalxpress.com
  8. African Americans underrepresented in cancer trials that led to FDA approvals. June 2020, healio.com)
  9. Black Americans are still dying of cancer at the highest rates. September 2020, nbcnews.com
  10. Study: Black patients underrepresented in pivotal CAR T-cell trials. April 2022, raps.org

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.