Multiple Myeloma on CureTalks in 2017: CAR T Cell Immunotherapy, Stem Cell Transplants, MRD Testing, MMRF Precision Medicine Model and More.

Our scientific fraternity achieved a lot this year in the field of cancer treatment, giving new ray of hope to cancer patients with advances in immunotherapy, stem cell transplants and genomic testing. 2017 is coming to an end and there is a lot that we shared with our myeloma community this year. 

Here is a recap of the discussions on multiple myeloma on CureTalks in 2017:

Dr. Carl June’s CAR-T Cell Journey and the Cancer Treatment Revolution

FDA approval of the breakthrough CAR-T cell therapy for cancer brings the first approved gene therapy treatment to the United States. It reprograms the body’s own immune system to recognise and kill cancer cells. The therapy initially called CAR-T cell immunotherapy and now named Kymriah by Novartis, is approved to treat children and young adults with a recurrent form of the blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Dr. Carl June of University of Pennsylvania, is one of the pioneers of CAR-T cell research and leads the team responsible for the historic FDA approval. We discussed Dr. Junes CAR-T cell journey to understand nuances of the new therapy. The discussion highlighted the opportunity that these engineered immune cells present to cancer treatment and possible use in treatment of other cancers.

Listen to the talk on CAR- T cell therapy with Dr. June HERE!

Demystifying Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Myeloma Treatment

In 2017 stem cell transplants remains a key option for treatment of eligible multiple myeloma patients, and in majority of patients it is done as a part of frontline therapy. Research shows that stem cell transplants significantly increases the amount of time, for which a patient has their disease under control. How safe are transplants? Who is eligible to get one? What are the side effects and how can patients tackle them? The myeloma panel talked to Dr. Rafael Fonseca for answers to these and more on the latest developments in stem cell transplant technology in multiple myeloma treatment.

Listen to the talk by Dr. Rafael Fonseca HERE! 

CureTalks Webinar: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for the MMRF with Myeloma Patient Advocate Matt Goldman

In February 2017, along with 5 other patients and 10 individuals who have had their lives impacted by myeloma, Matt Goldman climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. They were raising funds for Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), which is a leading organisation working to find myeloma cure. Kilimanjaro is 19,000 feet high. The journey took 8 days where they covered over 40 miles. 

Hear Matt Goldman’s myeloma journey and his experiences climbing mount Kili HERE! 

Multiple Myeloma: Minimal Residual Disease Testing as an End Point Treatment

Most multiple myeloma patients, even those in complete response, may show signs of relapse at some point of time. So, testing and quantifying Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) has become essential to obtain better prognostic correlations. Researchers believe that MRD testing could help them compare myeloma therapy strategies, evaluate new treatments faster, and guide treatment decisions. The myeloma panelists talked to Dr. Ola Landgren, a lead researcher in the field at MSK, about how MRD testing could become a new and earlier end-point in myeloma treatment.

Listen Dr. Landgren share what MRD testing could mean to your myeloma treatment HERE! 

The MMRF Precision Medicine Model – How Close to Multiple Myeloma Cure Are We?

The MMRF has built a unique model that provides the only end-to-end solution in cancer research. This model is based on three interrelated pillars fuelled by data generation and integration; collaboration and discovery; and accelerating clinical trials. Integrating this model with precision medicine, MMRF aims to get closer to finding a cure for multiple myeloma. Anne Quinn Young of the MMRF shared the details of this initiative and also discussed the developments around the CoMMpass trial.

Listen Ann Quinn Young share the details of the precision medicine initiative at MMRF HERE! 

Immunotherapy Advances in Multiple Myeloma

Recent years have seen the emergence of immunotherapy as a leading form of treatment for multiple myeloma. New strategies such as monoclonal antibody therapies. antibody-drug conjugates, immune checkpoint therapy, adoptive cell therapies such as natural killer cells, marrow infiltrating lymphocytes, dendritic cells, CAR T cell therapies and cancer vaccines represent the basis for next generation myeloma therapies. We talked to Dr. Saad Usmani of Levine Cancer Institute / Carolinas Healthcare System about the latest advances in immunotherapy for multiple myeloma.

Hear Dr. Saad Usmani discuss new advances in immunotherapy in myeloma treatment HERE!

Nonsecretory Multiple Myeloma: New Options in Assessment and Treatment

Hallmark of most multiple myeloma cases is the persistent production of some form of immunoglobulins, a phenomenon that brings the disease to attention. However, there is a subset of multiple myeloma patients who do not secrete immunoglobulin or its component parts into either the blood or urine, hence called non-secretory myeloma. Some non-secretory myeloma patients may produce the immunoglobulin proteins but they have defects in secretion. Due to lack of these protein biomarkers in blood and urine, it may be difficult to assess and treat the disease. Our myeloma panel discussed the latest developments and new options available in assessment and treatment of nonsecretory myeloma with Dr. Frits Van Rhee of UAMS College of Medicine,

Hear Dr. Van Rhee discuss new options in treatment of non-secretory multiple myeloma HERE!

High Risk Myeloma Treatment Options

Myeloma is classified as high-risk based on presence of cytogenetic abnormalities and poor treatment outcomes. Despite many new drugs and drug combinations being approved, long term benefits for high risk multiple myeloma patients is less clear. We continued our discussion on high risk myeloma with Dr. Robert Orlowski of MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas.

Listen Dr. Orlowski answer our panelists questions on High Risk Myeloma Treatment HERE!

Myeloma: 2016 Year in Review and Outlook for 2017

The treatment options for myeloma continued to evolve in 2016 with new agents, immune based therapies and repurposing of existing approved agents. High-dose therapy and autologous stem cell transplantation remain the backbone of upfront treatment in myeloma. Dr. Ravi Vij of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, talked about the evolution of myeloma treatments in 2016, and developments to look forward to in 2017.

Listen Dr. Ravi Vij on how myeloma treatment continued to evolve in 2016 HERE!


We will continue to feature interesting discussions on multiple myeloma in the coming year. If you have a topic in mind that you would like to hear discussed on CureTalks, please post it as a comment here or use our ‘Request a talk‘ option to let us know.


CureTalks is posed to bring you more talks on multiple myeloma in the coming year 2018 to keep you abreast on the latest developments in the field. You can also listen to CureTalks discussions on ROKU channel.

Stay tuned for our upcoming talk on Targeting Stem Cells in Multiple Myeloma for Improved Outcomes with Dr. William Matsui on December 20, 5 PM EST. 

About the Author