In Focus: The Treatment of Multiple Myeloma
June 4, 2014
Katie Sullivan, MA
A recent study found evidence suggesting that genetically modifying immune cells might effectively treat multiple myeloma. The rare disease is a cancer of the plasma cells, the type of white blood cells present in bone marrow. It is diagnosed in an estimated 24,000 new patients a year, and currently has no cure.

Researchers from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Centers (OSUCCC) modified the human immune cell known as T lymphocyte (T cell) to target the molecule CS1, which is found in more than 95% of myeloma cells. The modified cell attacks the molecule and kills the cells affected with CS1.

“Despite current drugs and use of bone marrow transplantation, multiple myeloma is still incurable, and almost all patients eventually relapse,” said study researcher Craig Hofmeister, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine and a member of the OSUCCC – James Translational Therapeutics Program. “This study presents a novel strategy for treating multiple myeloma, and we hope to bring it to patients as part of a phase 1 clinical trial as soon as possible.”

Clinical trials like those Dr Hofmeister mentioned are a valuable way for researchers to explore cost-effective treatments. According to a recent panel discussion from The American Journal of Managed Care, finding cost-effective treatments for the rare disease is crucial.

“It’s really important to try and figure out what type of myeloma a patient may have, and the best way to treat, because there are some very low-risk types of myeloma that can be managed very well with standard therapies and then there are more aggressive types that really do need these newer agents and combinations,” said Anne Quinn Young, MPH, vice president, Development and Strategic Partnerships, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

The full panel is available here.

Around the Web

A Form of Immune Therapy Might be Effective for Multiple Myeloma [Medical Xpress]