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Combinations Mark Future of Immunotherapy in Multiple Myeloma

Kristi Rosa
Published: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2019

Kenneth C. Anderson, MD

Kenneth C. Anderson, MD

The emergence of monoclonal antibodies, immunomodulatory agents (iMids), immunotoxins, bispecific T-cell engagers (BiTEs), and CAR T-cell therapies will redefine multiple myeloma treatment, said Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, in a presentation during the Charlotte Plasma Cell Disorder Congress. However, these new approaches, by themselves, are not enough to achieve cure; they must be used in combination.

“In the future, we’re going to do combination therapies. They will be used in a subset of patients better defined by profiling,” said Anderson. “If we’re going to have long-term disease-free survival—cure—we have to get minimal residual disease negativity with our targeted therapies, and then we need to restore host immunity. We need to have no disease, and we need to have patients off therapy. Quality of life is just as important as having no disease.”

With 24 agents approved in myeloma, and 2 within the last year alone, median survival has improved significantly from 3 years to at least 8 to 10 years, according to Anderson, who is the director, Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Kraft Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a 2014 Giant of Cancer Care® in Multiple Myeloma. With these advances, multiple myeloma has become more of a chronic illness for many patients, he added.

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