Annually, approximately 32,000 new patients are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of a type of white blood cell, or plasma cell. Overall survival in patients with myeloma has shown improvement in recent years, with new treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as recently as this year. Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital have several clinical trials available for patients with myeloma in need of new options, or looking to receive the latest treatment advances.
The treatment of multiple myeloma is usually given in phases and depends on the overall health and age of a patient at diagnosis. Induction therapy is used to reduce the amount of disease, followed by consolidation therapy to maximize response to treatment and reduce any remaining cancer cells. Maintenance therapy is administered after the initial treatment to help keep the disease well controlled. Autologous stem cell transplant, where patients serve as their own donor, is another treatment commonly used to treat multiple myeloma. When receiving therapy for multiple myeloma, our patients will be cared for by an expert, multidisciplinary team that can include the patient’s hematologist, focused on the treatment of myeloma and related diseases; stem cell transplant specialists; pathologists; and radiation oncologists, among other providers.
The CAR T-Cell Therapy Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital brings innovative immunotherapy treatment options to patients with certain blood cancers. For adults with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, an FDA approved therapy ABECMA is available, which uses a patient’s own T-cells to help fight myeloma. This is the first cell-based gene therapy approved by the FDA for the treatment of multiple myeloma and is currently available at Smilow Cancer Hospital. Ongoing research and clinical trials in the field continue to provide patients with new options for care.