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How Real World Data has Changed the Treatment Paradigm with Ankit Kansagra


In this episode of Real World Talk, Zoe Li talks to Ankit Kansagra. Dr. Kansagra is an oncologist and medical researcher at UT Southwestern in Dallas. Real world data has changed the treatment paradigm, the doctor says. Clinical trials are the foundation, but it is crucial to look beyond basic labs. Going through previous cases leads to significant discoveries.


  • [00:11] Introduction — Zoe Li introduces Ankit Kansagra, an oncologist and medical researcher at UT Southwestern in Dallas.
  • [1:43] Vocal data as an avenue for research — The most comprehensive clinical trials and studies emerged from looking at previous medical cases, Dr. Kansagra explains.
  • [4:56] The strength of real world data — The imperfections are the advantages of real world data. Clinical trials are structured, and that’s usually not the case in real world settings.
  • [7:34] How can we grow? — Every doctor or a medical student, Dr. Kansagra says, has to use real world data, collect data, and look for ways to improve the treatment. If something does not work for several patients in a row, that’s a clear sign it must be modified or changed.
  • [10:14] The Evolution and treatment of Myeloma — There are so many questions and approaches in treating Myeloma, the doctor explains, and permanent research is required.
  • [15:48] The importance of real world data — The medical community relies on real world data. Communication between doctors is crucial because it provides insights on how patients reacted to a particular treatment and how successful the approach was, Dr. Kansagra states.
  • [19:06] Goals for 2021 — Dr. Kansagra mentions two goals. The first one is access to care, and the second is research about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • [22:00] Therapies should be accessible to all — Dr. Kansagra says many patients and especially minorities face difficulties if they need particular therapy. Collecting data will show what the current condition is and what more can be done so that anyone who needs medical care can have access to it.
  • [26:24] COVID and Health System — The pandemic has set some new norms hospitals must adjust to. Priorities have changed, and now it is crucial to realize testing and vaccination, the doctor explains.
  • [30:19] The biggest challenge during the pandemic — The COVID-19 pandemic caused the modification of treatment pathways, the doctor explains. Medical workers had to adapt to a current situation and deal with limited resources.
  • [33:59] What real world data can do for medicine — A holistic approach requires looking beyond the basic labs. Real world data has a tremendous impact on clinical practice. But, as the doctor says, they have to be used appropriately.

Key Points

  • Real world data have changed the treatment paradigm. It is necessary to look beyond clinical trials to find the best treatment, Dr. Kansagra explains. Solutions are hidden behind previous medical cases. Analyzing and comparing patients’ clinical evidence leads to discovering similarities (trends) that can be used for further studies.
  • Myeloma is an evolving field. In the past decade, the doctor says, there were 10 or 15 different treatments for Myeloma. Many questions are revolving around this field, and while some are answered, many more appear. Real world data can resolve why some patients react well to a particular treatment while others don’t.
  • How can we increase access to care? Dr. Kansagra lists factors that stand between patients and treatments, including socio-economic factors, education, availability of information, and so on. The studies have shown minorities are in an unenviable position when it comes to medical care. It is crucial to define the number of patients who need therapy, reasons why they don’t receive it, and if they do, how they respond to it. Real world data have a tremendous role in giving the answers to all of these questions.