Continued From Part One
Multiple myeloma is caused by the buildup of abnormal white blood cells that form tumors found primarily in bones. Available treatments work for short periods of time and frequently cause side effects.
Immunotherapy utilizes the patient’s immune system to prevent the cancer cells from producing proteins that enable them to evade the patient’s immune system. The therapy is available in various forms, with each having different effects.
CAR-T cell therapy has emerged as a fallback for multiple myeloma patients who have tried a minimum of four cancer therapies unsuccessfully.
CAR-T cell therapy was initially approved by the FDA in 2017. Myeloma cells introduce proteins that manage to evade the body’s immune system. Immunotherapy in turn interferes with cancer cells’ ability to avoid the immune system.
The T-cells, or infection-fighting white blood cells, are genetically modified to target myeloma cells after which they are reinfused into the patient.
The goal is to increase the strength of the T-cells and enable them to identify and kill cancer cells.
At the moment this new therapy is not widely available. It can be found only at specialized centers that are known to have CAR-T therapy expertise with a cost of approximately $400,000 depending on which type of therapy has been selected for the patient.
Patients who have had success with the therapy report that it is life changing. Today immunotherapy is considered to be among the most effective multiple myeloma therapies.
Check out the original study here.