By Tom Wilemon
Vanderbilt’s Eden Biltibo, MD, MS, is one of the first recipients of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s Scholars Program, an initiative launched in 2022.
Biltibo, assistant professor of Medicine, will receive $100,000 per year for four years to support her career development and research in “Identifying Effective and Cost-Conscious Maintenance Daratumumab Dosing.”
She is one of two researchers to be the first recipients of the award, which the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation launched to address health and education initiatives by promoting greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the research and clinical fields. The other recipient is Joselle Cook, MBBS, assistant professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine.
Black patients make up 20% of the approximately 35,000 people diagnosed each year in the United States with myeloma. Despite the high incidence of myeloma among Black people, most Black patients are diagnosed at later stages than other patient populations. Survival rates for Black patients have not kept pace with improved rates for other patient populations. Black patients are also underrepresented in research and clinical studies.
“Dr. Biltibo and Dr. Cook’s proposals were selected based on their robust and thoughtful approaches to bridging health care disparities in multiple myeloma, a disease that disproportionately affects Black people,” said Michael Andreini, president and CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “Their work will add expertise, technology and tools to advance understanding and treatment of myeloma in a variety of Black communities and also enable us to support scientists and clinicians that represent diversity within the multiple myeloma research community as we pursue a world without myeloma.”
The financial support from the foundation will assist Biltibo as she leads a clinical trial.
“I am grateful to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation for taking this critical step in bridging the multiple myeloma care gap. I am excited for the collaboration, growth, and most importantly, the impact this program will have in transforming patient care for the better,” Biltibo said.