Multiple Myeloma

Future Research

Because multiple myeloma is so hard to control, many researchers are looking for more effective multiple myeloma treatments. They also are looking for new treatment options that have fewer side effects and for better ways to care for patients who have complications caused by this disease. When laboratory research for multiple myeloma shows that a new method has promise, doctors use it to treat multiple myeloma cancer patients in clinical trials. These clinical trials for multiple myeloma are designed to find out whether the new approach to multiple myeloma treatment is both safe and effective and to answer scientific questions. Patients who take part in clinical trials may have the first chance to benefit from improved treatment methods, and they make an important contribution to medical science.

Many clinical research trials of new multiple myeloma treatments are under way. In some studies, doctors are testing new drugs and new drug combinations. In others, they are using chemotherapy along with biological therapy, a multiple myeloma treatment option that utilizes substances that boost the immune system's response to cancer.

Multiple myeloma researchers also are testing new approaches to cancer treatment that allow the use of very high doses of anticancer drugs, sometimes along with radiation. Doctors believe that higher doses of anticancer drugs and radiation might be more effective than the usual doses in destroying myeloma cells. However, higher doses also cause greater damage to healthy bone marrow. New approaches to treatment may help the healthy marrow recover or may allow doctors to replace marrow that is destroyed in the treatment process. These approaches include bone marrow transplantation, peripheral stem cell support, and treatment with colony-stimulating factors. Patients interested in taking part in a clinical trial should discuss this option with their doctor.

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