According to a story from Myeloma Crowd Crowdcare Foundation, the very first Plasma Cell Disorder Congress recently took place in Charlotte, NC from August 10-11, 2019. The event primary focused on research related to multiple myeloma, a rare cancer that affects the plasma cells. As a cancer that is generally considered incurable and holds a five year survival rate of around 50 percent, progress in disease research is urgently needed to improve outcomes for patients. At this event, three key themes helped define the future of multiple myeloma research.
About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma, which is occasionally referred to as plasma cell myeloma, is a blood cancer that affects plasma cells. These are white blood cells that produce antibodies. The overall cause of multiple myeloma is not well understood; however, some risk factors have been identified. These include obesity, family history, smoldering myeloma, and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. These last two conditions have the potential to develop into multiple myeloma. Symptoms of this cancer include bone pain, infections, anemia, kidney failure, overly thick blood, confusion, fatigue, headaches, and amyloidosis. Treatment includes chemo, stem cell transplant, and other medications for relapsed disease, which is common. Five year survival rate is 49 percent in the US. To learn more about multiple myeloma, click here.
It’s In The Genes
The first point emphasized at the event is the need for an extensive understanding of a patient’s genomic characteristics. This knowledge is essential for informing decisions related to treatment. Part of this effort will include the identification of variants and sub-variants of multiple myeloma. This will facilitate the use of targeted drugs and will also require changes to the conduct of clinical trials.
Another focus at the event was drug resistance. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that has high rates of relapse and the cancer is very adept at developing the resistance to various medications and treatment methods. This reality underscores the importance of consultation with specialists and the need for more effective therapies.
Minimal Residual Disease
The use of minimal residual disease (MRD), a measure that can be a key predictor of outcomes, will play a critical role in the future of cancer treatment and the assessment of treatment effectiveness. Minimal residual disease refers to a small, trace amount of cancer cells that may continue to remain in a patient’s bloodstream following treatment and the retreat of disease symptoms. The presence of these cells is closely connected to disease recurrence.