Early diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma are essential for improving outcomes and enhancing chances of survival
Over the years, there have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma, leading to better outcomes for patients
Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that affects the plasma cells, which are responsible for producing antibodies in the body. Being one of the most common blood cancer, it requires timely diagnosis and treatment. Over the years, there have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma, leading to better outcomes for patients.
Plasma cells, a subset of white blood cells that make antibodies, are the target of the malignancy known as multiple myeloma. “Early diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma are crucial for improving outcomes and enhancing chances of survival,” says Dr S Jayanthi, Senior Pediatric Oncologist, Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad.
The latest treatment approaches to enhance the chances of diagnosing multiple myeloma are offering promising new treatments. “Many multiple myeloma patients receive chemotherapy in order to reduce or eliminate their cancer cells. In some cases, chemotherapy may also lead to cancer remission. However, long term cancer control can often be difficult to achieve with this approach alone. Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is a new treatment option that has shown promise for many multiple myeloma patients and is considered a more aggressive approach than just chemotherapy alone,” adds Dr Jayanthi.
Early diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma are essential for improving outcomes and enhancing chances of survival. The latest treatment approaches, such as advanced imaging tests, biopsy, genetic testing, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy, can help to diagnose multiple myeloma and provide personalized treatment plans for better outcomes.
Advancements in imaging technology, such as PET-CT and MRI scans have allowed for more precise assessment and can detect myeloma lesions earlier than traditional X-rays, which can be critical for early diagnosis and effective treatment. “Another newer advance in the treatment of multiple myeloma is the use of precision medicine. Precision medicine involves using genetic testing to identify the specific genetic mutations that are driving the growth of myeloma cells. Once these mutations are identified, targeted therapies can be used to block their effects and stop cancer from growing. This approach can lead to more personalized and effective treatment for each individual patient,” says Dr Ashish Dixit, Consultant, Haematology, Haemato Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplantation, Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road.
Targeted therapies are newer treatment options for multiple myeloma. These drugs are designed to target specific proteins or pathways that are essential for the growth and survival of myeloma cells. An example of targeted therapy for multiple myeloma can be proteasome inhibitors, such as bortezomib. These drugs block the breakdown of proteins in myeloma cells, leading to their death.
“Another newer treatment option for multiple myeloma is monoclonal antibodies, which are designed to target specific proteins on the surface of myeloma cells. Daratumumab is an example of a monoclonal antibody used in treating multiple myeloma. This drug helps the immune system recognize and attack myeloma cells more effectively,” adds Dr Dixit.
Stem cell transplantation is one of the standard treatments for multiple myeloma. Stem cell transplantation involves collecting healthy stem cells from the patient or a donor, and then administering high doses of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells. The healthy stem cells are then infused back into the patient’s body, helping to restore the immune system and blood cell production.
“Targeted Immunotherapy is a treatment option that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. One type of immunotherapy used in multiple myeloma is called CAR T-cell therapy. This treatment involves modifying the patient’s own T-cells in a laboratory so that they can recognize and destroy myeloma cells more effectively,” opines Dr Dixit.
These newer advances in the diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma offer hope for patients with this disease. With continued research and development, we may see even more effective treatments in the future. It is important for patients with multiple myeloma to work closely with their doctors to determine the best course of treatment for their individual needs.
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