Multiple Myeloma: Planning a Continuum of Care in 2020 - Episode 13
Keith Stewart, MB, ChB: Let’s talk about the most exciting target we have in myeloma today, which is BCMA [B-cell maturation antigen] and how we can approach targeting that. Nooper, you’ve been quite involved in some of the drug therapies that are targeting BCMA. What is BCMA, and why do we care?
Noopur Raje, MD: BCMA is 1 of the most exciting targets that we’ve discovered in the last few years. BCMA stands for B-cell maturation antigen. It is a protein that is expressed on all plasma cells. It’s present on all patients with multiple myeloma. Over the years, we’ve begun to appreciate that you don’t even need to measure BCMA levels, because all plasma cells will have that. This is a tumor-specific target, and going after this makes a lot of sense. We have a lot of different approaches to targeting BCMA. There’s conjugated monoclonal antibodies, which are in clinical trials. The 1 that is in development is belantamab mafodotin. This is a conjugated monoclonal antibody targeting BCMA, and there were nice data on the DREAMM trials presented at this year’s ASCO [American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting]. There are other strategies, such as BiTEs, which stands for bispecific T-cell engagers. These are also off-the-shelf monoclonal antibodies that target the same protein, and while doing so, they also activate your T cells and can bring the T cells to the tumor and can cause immune T-cell killing of the tumor itself. The most exciting space or the most data we have using BCMA as a target is the cellular therapy world, which is CAR [chimeric antigen receptor] T cells, again directed toward BCMA.
Transcript edited for clarity.