Are you or a loved one currently facing a pre-cancerous state of multiple myeloma, known as smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM)? Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is supporting a phase II clinical trial that may help delay or prevent the progression of SMM to multiple myeloma, and create new therapies to better treat these tumors and improve outcomes for patients.
Multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, almost always progresses from pre-cancerous states (SMM) – approximately 70% of high-risk SMM patients progress to multiple myeloma within five years of diagnosis. SMM is a disease that is sometimes called asymptomatic myeloma. It involves a higher level of plasma cells in the bone marrow and a higher level of certain proteins, but patients do not usually experience any symptoms. SMM is usually detected during routine checkups and is then confirmed through blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy.
What is nivolumab?
A type of immunotherapy that stops the tumor from repressing the immune system response. It is an antibody that binds to the body’s T cells in order to keep them turned “on” even while the tumor is trying to turn them “off.” These activated T cells (white blood cells that help your body fight disease) can then attack the cancer cells.
SMM is not typically “treated” except in clinical trial settings. Researchers on the Multiple Myeloma Clinical Trial team will treat patients in the early stages of high-risk SMM with immunotherapy, nivolumab, and the standard care for myeloma using a type of chemotherapy and steroid. By activating both the immune system and tumor response it is expected that this type of early intervention will delay or prevent the pre-cancerous disease progression to multiple myeloma.
Patient samples collected throughout this trial, via blood and bone marrow samples, will help these researchers identify potential solutions to understanding what causes SMM to develop into multiple myeloma, ways to prevent the progression of SMM, and new therapies to both intercept and delay multiple myeloma and organ damage associated with the disease.
This promising research may lead to a new standard of care for SMM patients, utilizing blood biopsies and early intervention to improve patients’ response to treatment and prolonged survival from this disease.