Patients being treated for multiple myeloma at Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center now have the potential of receiving chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, an exciting treatment at the forefront of cancer research. The Cancer Center already has been using CAR T-cell therapy to treat Mantle cell lymphoma and large B-cell lymphoma, with an over 90% response rate, and is seeing a similar response for multiple myeloma.
The Cancer Center was selected as one of the few nationwide to provide this kind of treatment to patients with multiple myeloma because of the center’s existing expertise and success in treating lymphoma with CAR T-cell therapy. The Cancer Center participated in the original clinical trials that led to CAR T-cell therapy receiving Food and Drug Administration approval in 2017 for large B-cell lymphoma.
The therapy is now a potential option for people whose multiple myeloma no longer responds to existing treatments.
During CAR T-cell therapy, doctors take immune cells from a patient’s body, reprogram them so that they have a heightened ability to identify and eliminate cancer cells, and return these cells to the body through an IV. It is an involved and complex process but typically eliminates the need for additional cancer treatments for 12 months or more.
“A greater than 90% response rate is almost unheard of, as is the fact that the responses are durable,” said Nishi N. Shah, MD, MBBS, Attending Oncology Physician, Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Assistant Professor, Oncology and Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “These response rates are very impressive given that these are heavily pretreated patients. That’s really the best part.”