Although multiple myeloma is considered a relatively rare cancer, it is the second most common type of blood cancer, after leukemia. The exact cause is unknown, but certain factors such as genetic mutations, exposure to radiation or certain chemicals, and a weakened immune system may increase the risk of developing this disease. Symptoms can include bone pain, fatigue, weakness, and recurrent infections. Treatment options for myeloma include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplantation. The 5-year survival rate for multiple myeloma in the United States is 55%. This percentage can be increased by expanding clinical trials.
What Are the Benefits of Multiple Myeloma Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments, drugs, or procedures to determine their effectiveness and safety. Clinical trials play a crucial role in advancing medical knowledge and developing new disease treatments. Here are some of the benefits of a myeloma clinical trial:
- Access to New Treatments: A multiple myeloma clinical trial can give patients access to new treatments that are not yet available to the general public. Patients who participate may have access to drugs or procedures that could potentially be a game changer for the disease.
- Better Outcomes: Multiple myeloma clinical trials are designed to determine a new treatment’s effectiveness and safety. Participating patients can help steer the future of research toward longer survival rates.
- Contribution to Medical Knowledge: Multiple myeloma trials may generate important data that can help researchers better understand the disease and develop new treatments. Patients can help advance medical knowledge and potentially improve future patients’ lives.
What Are the Benefits of Participating in Clinical Trials of Multiple Myeloma?
Participating in a clinical trial for myeloma can have several benefits for patients. These include:
- Access to New Treatments: As stated, clinical trials give patients access to new treatments and drugs that are not yet available to the general public.
- Hope for Patients: Clinical trials offer hope for patients who have most likely exhausted all available treatment options. By participating in these multiple trials, patients may have the opportunity to receive a new treatment that could improve their quality of life and potentially prolong their survival.
- Close Monitoring and Care: Clinical trials involve frequent monitoring and follow-up appointments to assess the effectiveness and safety of the tested treatment. Patients who participate in multiple trials will receive close monitoring and care from a team of medical professionals, including oncologists, nurses, and other specialists. This type of care may not be available to them otherwise.
- Potential for Better Outcomes: Since clinical trials are designed to determine the effectiveness of new treatments, patients who participate in clinical trials for myeloma may have better outcomes than those who receive standard treatments. Some patients worry that they may receive a placebo. It is important to note that participants who sign up for a clinical trial will always be told if a placebo is being used.
- Support and Education: Clinical trials often provide support and education to patients and their families throughout treatment. This may include counseling, education about multiple myeloma, and resources to help manage the physical and emotional effects of the disease.
- Cost Savings: Clinical trials may cover the cost of treatment, including drugs, laboratory tests, and other medical procedures. This can be a significant cost savings for patients who may not have access to or can’t afford the latest treatments. Talk to your insurance company and the research team to determine if clinical trial costs are covered.
What Are Some Examples of Successful Multiple Myeloma Clinical Trials?
Several successful clinical trials for multiple myeloma have resulted in the development of new treatments and improved patient outcomes.
- IMiD Therapy: A class of drugs known as immunomodulatory imide drugs (IMiDs) was developed and tested in clinical trials for multiple myeloma. These drugs, including thalidomide and lenalidomide, have been shown to improve outcomes for patients with the disease, including increased response rates and overall survival.
- Proteasome Inhibitors: Another class of drugs called proteasome inhibitors were developed and tested in clinical trials for myeloma. The first proteasome inhibitor, bortezomib, was approved by the FDA in 2003 for the treatment of myeloma. Subsequent proteasome inhibitors, including carfilzomib and ixazomib, have also been approved for the treatment of myeloma.
- Stem Cell Transplantation: High-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) has also been shown to improve outcomes for patients with multiple myeloma.
- Monoclonal Antibodies: Monoclonal antibodies, such as daratumumab and elotuzumab, have been developed and tested in clinical trials for myeloma. These drugs target specific proteins on the surface of myeloma cells, which can lead to improved outcomes for patients.
- CAR T-Cell Therapy: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy involving engineering a patient’s T cells to target and destroy cancer cells. CAR T-ce ll therapy has shown promising results in clinical trials for myeloma and was approved by the FDA in 2022 for the treatment of relapsed or refractory myeloma.
To find out more about multiple myeloma clinical trials, contact Verdi Oncology. We are an oncology practice management company that provides clinical, technological, operational, and financial support to empower innovation in small practices across the country.