What Are Treatment Options For Myeloma?

Smoldering multiple myeloma is the early stages of multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a rare blood cancer that affects plasma cells.  Multiple myeloma creates a certain type of protein that can be measured in the blood and urine.  The proteins in the blood and urine are detected before an individual has any symptoms of cancer.

Individuals who are diagnosed with smoldering multiple myeloma usually don’t need immediate treatment.  The doctor will monitor a patient to see how the disease progresses.  If smoldering multiple myeloma turns into stage 1 mutliple myeloma, then a doctor will usually prescribe chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

A bone marrow transplant is an option when in the early stages of multiple myeloma.  The disease infected marrow is removed before a patient is given high-doses of chemotherapy.  After chemotherapy is complete, healthy marrow is transplanted.

A lot of research is being conducted on treatments for multiple myeloma.

Below are the current treatments for multiple myeloma:

  • Targeted therapy – Some targeted therapy drugs include Bortezomib (Velcade), carfilzomib (Kyprolis) and ixazomib (Ninlaro).  These drugs help blcok the action of a substance in myeloma cells that breaks down protins.  This causes myeloma cells to die.  Some other targeted therapy treatments include monoclonal antibody drugs. These drugs bind to the proteins in the myeloma cell, which causes them to die.
  • Biological therapy – Biological therapy drugs enhance the immune system cells that identify and attack cancer cells.  This medication is usually in pill form.  Some examples of this drug include thalidomide (Thalomid), lenalidomide (Revlimid) and pomalidomide (Pomalyst).
  • Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy drugs are given through the vein of you arm or through pill form.  Normally, high doses of chemotherapy drugs are used before a bone marrow transplant.  The aim of chemotherpay is for it to kill fast-growing cells. including myeloma cells.
  • Corticosteroids – Some examples of corticosteroids are prednisone and dexamethasone.  They help regulate the immune system to control inflammation in the body. Corticosteroids can be given through a vein in the arm or in pill form.
  • Bone marrow transplant – This is also known as a stem cell transplant.  During this procedure, the diseased marrow is replaced with healthy marrow.
  • Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy uses beams of protons and x-rays to damage myeloma cells.  This helps stop their growth.  Radiation therapy can be used to shrink myeloma cells.

Many drug combinations can be useful in treating myeloma.  If a medication combination stops functioning (or the myeloma comes back), others can be tried.

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