multiple myeloma

We share a summary of Dr Daryl Tan’s article featured in the Prime magazine.

What is multiple myeloma

It is a form of cancer that forms in plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cells that make antibodies crucial in identifying and fighting infections. Cancerous plasma cells in multiple myeloma multiply very quickly and accumulate in the bone marrow. 

Risk factors and symptoms

Over time, healthy blood cells will be crowded out with the cancerous plasma cells which can weaken bone structures, causing increased susceptibility to fractures. As the number of cancerous plasma cells increases, the production of healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets drops, resulting in anemia, easy bleeding and frequent infections. These cancerous plasma cells can also secrete cancer proteins, also referred to as monoclonal protein which can gradually accumulate throughout the body and cause organ damage, for which the kidneys are most susceptible. Most patients are first presented with bone pain, kidney failure or anemia.

Advances in multiple myeloma treatment

Myeloma cells are most susceptible to proteasome inhibition. The development of the proteasome inhibitor – bortezomib in the past decade represented a major advancement in multiple myeloma treatment. The success of bortezomib led to the development of the next-generation proteasome inhibitor called carfilzomib which is more potent than bortezomib. This drug was approved by the FDA in 2012 and it plays an important role in salvaging patients when the disease relapses.

Immunotherapy as alternative treatment

The latest excitement in the field of myeloma therapeutics is the advent of immunotherapy. This modality harnesses the body’s immune system to effect cancer cell killing. It is highly effective and also results  in significant improvement outcomes for multiple myeloma patients. Cellular immunotherapy is the latest modality to be approved recently in the treatment of myeloma.

Dr Daryl Tan

Dr Daryl Tan is an experienced haematologist who specialises in the treatment of blood cancers, including lymphoma, multiple myeloma, leukaemia, and myeloproliferative neoplasms. He also has expertise in diagnosing and treating bleeding disorders and general haematological conditions.

Seeking medical advice for your blood cancer or haematological condition? Contact Dr Daryl Tan today.

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