Multiple Myeloma Treatment Options

Explore treatment options for multiple myeloma available in China with CAR T cell therapies.

Why going to China for cancer treatment?

Multiple myeloma treatment isn’t always needed right away. If there are no symptoms, you might have tests to watch the myeloma to see if it gets worse. When multiple myeloma causes symptoms, treatment often starts with medicine. Treatment can help relieve pain, control complications, and slow the growth of the myeloma cells.

Treatment may not be needed right away

Sometimes multiple myeloma doesn’t cause symptoms. Doctors call this smoldering multiple myeloma. This kind of multiple myeloma might not need treatment right away.

If the myeloma is at an early stage and is growing slowly, you might have regular checkups to monitor the cancer. A health care professional might test your blood and urine to look for signs that the myeloma is getting worse.

You and your health care team might decide to start treatment if you develop multiple myeloma symptoms.

Treatments for myeloma

Treatments might include:

  • Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses medicines that attack specific chemicals in the cancer cells. By blocking these chemicals, targeted treatments can cause cancer cells to die.
  • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment with medicine that helps the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells. The immune system fights off diseases by attacking germs and other cells that shouldn’t be in the body. Cancer cells survive by hiding from the immune system. Immunotherapy helps the immune system cells find and kill the cancer cells.
  • CAR-T cell therapy. Chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy, also called CAR-T cell therapy, trains your immune system cells to fight multiple myeloma. This treatment begins with removing some white blood cells, including T cells, from your blood. The cells are sent to a lab. In the lab, the cells are treated so that they make special receptors. The receptors help the cells recognize a marker on the surface of the myeloma cells.

    Then the cells are put back into your body. They can now find and destroy the multiple myeloma cells.

  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses strong medicines to kill cancer cells. The medicines kill fast-growing cells, including myeloma cells.
  • Corticosteroids. Corticosteroid medicines help control swelling and irritation, called inflammation, in the body. They also work against myeloma cells.
  • Bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant, replaces diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.

    Before a bone marrow transplant, blood-forming stem cells are collected from your blood. High doses of chemotherapy then are given to destroy your diseased bone marrow. Then the stem cells are put into your body. They travel to the bones and begin rebuilding bone marrow. This type of transplant using your own cells is called an autologous bone marrow transplant.

    Sometimes the stem cells come from a healthy donor. This type of transplant is called an allogenic bone marrow transplant.

  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses powerful energy beams to kill cancer cells. The energy can come from X-rays, protons or other sources. Radiation can quickly shrink a growth of myeloma cells. It might be used if myeloma cells form a mass called a plasmacytoma. Radiation may help control a plasmacytoma that’s causing pain or destroying a bone.

How treatments are used

Your treatment plan will depend on whether you’re likely to have a bone marrow transplant. When deciding if bone marrow transplant is best for you, your health care team considers many factors. These include whether your multiple myeloma is likely to get worse, your age and your overall health.

  • When bone marrow transplant is an option. If your health care team thinks bone marrow transplant is a good option for you, treatment often begins with a mix of medicines. The mix might include targeted therapy, immunotherapy, corticosteroids and, sometimes, chemotherapy.

    After a few months of treatment, blood stem cells are collected from your blood. The bone marrow transplant might happen soon after collecting the cells. Or you might wait until after a relapse, if there is one. Sometimes doctors suggest two bone marrow transplants for people with multiple myeloma.

    After the bone marrow transplant, you’ll likely have targeted therapy or immunotherapy. These can help keep the myeloma from coming back.

  • When bone marrow transplant isn’t an option. If you decide not to have a bone marrow transplant, treatment might include a mix of medicines. The mix might include targeted therapy, immunotherapy, corticosteroids and, sometimes, chemotherapy.
  • When myeloma comes back or doesn’t respond to treatment. Treatment might involve having another course of the same treatment. Another option is trying one or more of the other treatments available for multiple myeloma.

    Research on new treatments is ongoing. You might be able to join a clinical trial. A clinical trial may allow you to try new treatments that are being tested. Ask your health care team about what clinical trials are available.

Treating complications

Treatment might include treating complications of multiple myeloma. For example:

  • Bone pain. Pain medications, radiation therapy and surgery may help control bone pain.
  • Kidney damage. People with severe kidney damage may need dialysis.
  • Infections. Vaccines can help prevent infections, such as the flu and pneumonia.
  • Bone loss. Bone-building medicines might help prevent bone loss.
  • Anemia. Medicines can increase the number of red blood cells in the blood. This can help relieve ongoing anemia.

Contact a specialist

CAR T Cell Therapy in Multiple Myeloma Treatment

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