Multiple Myeloma

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The Revolution in Multiple Myeloma Treatment

Dr. Paul Richardson Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

We don’t use the word hope lightly at SurvivorNet, but with regards to multiple myeloma, patients should truly be hopeful. We can say that because the specialists who’ve been driving the field for the past 20 years all believe that the treatments they now give to patients are drastically better than when they first began their careers. Both medicine and research are extremely promising for people who are recently or newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma. We are indeed at something of an inflection point.

“In multiple myeloma we’ve been blessed in the last twenty years with an extraordinary change in the natural history of the disease, by virtue of the introduction of novel agents–which are biologically targeted, biologically rational approaches to treatment–that have really superseded the older approaches of chemotherapeutics,” says Dr. Paul Richardson, Director of Clinical Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Newer drugs, including combination therapies, more-refined stem cell transplants, and the recent emergence of immunotherapies, have led to a kind of “paradigm change” in how we view and ultimately treat multiple myeloma, says Anderson. “We’ve seen dramatic changes continue and I think that’s what’s been so exciting and been such a privilege to be part of the field — because these changes have led to further advances.”

With current advancements, average length of life with multiple myeloma has become four times what it was just two decades ago. There has been so much innovation already that individuals who would only live for a few years after treatment are now living for a decade or more, and things will only get better from here.

When speaking about what he’s seen from his own patients, Dr. Anderson is optimistic and joyful. “It’s been such a wonderful thing to see them deal with their disease, go into remission, and enjoy survivorship of 10, 15, and even 20 years–something which, not so long ago, would have been unheard of.”

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Dr. Paul Richardson is the Clinical Program Leader and Director of the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Read More