Multiple Myeloma

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What is Minimal Residual Disease?

Dr. Nina Shah UCSF Medical Center

Is there a cure for multiple myeloma, how do I know it’s gone?

Some people are able to stop treatment for multiple myeloma because of something called minimal residual disease (MRD). MRD negativity means that a doctor has examined your cells very closely and could not detect any cancer in the bone marrow, according to Dr. Nina Shah, a Hematologist at UCSF. That means, “one in a million cells could not be found.”

The question then becomes, is being MRD negative good enough to safely stop treatment? “We don’t have that answer yet,” Dr. Shah said. “I’d say that if you’re considering stopping treatment because your doctor has told you that you are MRD negative, it’s really important that you continue close follow up every three months at least, so you can understand … if your markers change, to quickly consider getting back on treatment.”

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Dr. Nina Shah is a hematologist who specializes in the treatment of multiple myeloma, a type of cancer affecting the blood marrow. She treats patients at the Hematology and Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinic. Read More