The results of China's first preliminary survey on the diagnosis, treatment and survival of patients with multiple myeloma was released at the ongoing 5th China International Import Expo.
Multiple myeloma is a malignant disease characterized by the abnormal proliferation of clonal plasma cells. It is the second most common hematological malignancy that affects mostly people of advanced age in China, according to the survey, which was launched by The Patient Organization Myeloma Home and supported by biopharmaceutical company Sanofi.
Nearly 50 percent of patients are unsatisfied with current treatment options such as chemotherapy, which usually results in severe side effects and multiple recurrences, according to the survey.
The survey also revealed that the disease has a severe impact on the physical and mental health of patients. Over 30 percent of the patients said that the disease seriously affected their work and life, and over 60 percent reported poor psychological status.
The situation is set to worsen as China's society continues to age, medical experts said.
According to the latest data released by the National Health and Health Commission, there were more than 267 million elderly people aged 60 and above - nearly 19 percent of the total population - in China as of the end of 2021. This ratio is expected to hit nearly 30 percent by 2030.
In recent years, research on treatment in this field has developed rapidly, and a series of innovative drugs have emerged, including the new generation CD38 Sarclisa developed by Sanofi, which made its China debut at the ongoing CIIE.
According to the company, the drug has been found to significantly improve remission rates and progression-free survival in patients in the United States, the European Union and Japan. The drug has yet to be approved for use in China.
Professor Zhu Zhimei, director of the Department of Hematology at the University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Hospital, said: "We hope that the introduction of innovative drugs can be accelerated so that patients can receive treatment in the mainland. This saves them the trouble of having to make cross-border purchases of drugs or medical treatment."