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Multiple MyelomaMultiple Myeloma Treatment

Let's Talk About Multiple Myeloma Treatment

Every case of this disease is different and so is every treatment plan. The choices can be a little complex, but this overview of potential options will help you get a clearer picture of the road ahead.

    Our Pro PanelMultiple Myeloma Treatment

    We went to some of the nation’s top experts in multiple myeloma to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Cindy Varga, M.D. headshot.

    Cindy Varga, M.D.Medical Oncologist, Assistant Professor

    Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine
    Boston, MA
    Myo Htut, M.D. headshot.

    Myo Htut, M.D.Associate Clinical Professor of Hematology

    City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
    Duarte, CA
    Rebecca Silbermann, M.D. headshot.

    Rebecca Silbermann, M.D.Assistant Professor of Hematology/Medical Oncology

    Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine
    Portland, OR

    Frequently Asked QuestionsMultiple Myeloma Treatment

    What causes multiple myeloma?

    Doctors don’t know exactly what causes MM, but it likely comes down to DNA damage and chromosomal differences. Genes known as “oncogenes” trigger cell growth while “tumor suppressor genes” slow it down—there are differences in these genes in people with multiple myeloma. Normal human cells have 46 chromosomes, but MM cancer cells are often found to be either missing a part of one of chromosome or have mixed up chromosomes in which parts are switched out of their proper order.

    What treatments are available for MM?

    Targeted drugs and immunotherapy medications are therapies that target certain proteins and receptors in cancer cells to slow growth or boost a person’s immune system to help it destroy those cells. New versions of these drugs are being discovered and tested regularly. Current targeted and immunotherapy drugs for MM include immunomodulatory agents (IMIDs), checkpoint inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, proteasome inhibitors, immunosuppressants, interferons, and cellular immunotherapy using T cells.

    Is multiple myeloma curable?

    No, it’s not considered curable...yet. But it is treatable. Many new treatments have been discovered in the last decade, and some doctors are starting to call it a “chronic” condition that can be managed successfully for years.

    How is chemo used for multiple myeloma?

    Chemo is widely used in MM because it can target myeloma cancer cells anywhere in the body. Although some medicines are in pill form, chemo is usually delivered directly into someone’s bloodstream through an IV “infusion” or injection at a clinic or doctor’s office.

    Sunny Sea Gold

    Sunny Sea Gold

    @sunnyseagold

    Sunny is a health journalist, book author, and essayist living in Portland, OR.