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 a pre-cancerous state (SMM); approximately 70% of high-risk SMM patients progress to multiple myeloma within five years of diagnosis. SMM is a 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 a routine checkup and is then confirmed through blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy.
What is elotuzumab?
Elotuzumab is a type of immunotherapy called a monoclonal antibody that targets a receptor which is crucial to stimulating immune cell activity. This receptor is also found on myeloma (MM) cells. By activating this receptor, immune cells like Natural Killer (NK) cells, are turned “on.” Using the same cell pathway, the myeloma cells are flagged for destruction by the body’s immune 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, elotuzumab, and the standard care for myeloma using a type of chemotherapy and steroid. By activating both the immune system and tumor response, researchers expect 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 sampling, will help these researchers identify potential solutions to understanding what causes SMM to develop into multiple myeloma, identify potential ways to prevent the progression of SMM, and develop 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 to prolong survival for those with this disease.