New drug data challenge the ways we treat myeloma

At the recent annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Hematology Association (EHA), important data were presented on the monoclonal antibodies elotuzumab and daratumumab. The first acts against SLAMF7 and the second against CD38. These new targets on the surface of myeloma cells provide ways to attack myeloma separate from traditional chemotherapy and the immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) or proteasome inhibitor “novel” agents.

Is it possible to boost the immune system for myeloma patients?

The answer is a definite maybe! As myeloma evolves, it does so within the complex immune microenvironment of the bone marrow. The most well-known impact is the reduction in normal plasma cells and reductions in normal immunoglobulin production, causing reduced normal gamma globulins as part of the SPEP (serum protein electrophoresis) pattern. But there are many other effects of the disease which result in reduced or abnormal immune responses. The most well-documented feature of myeloma is the reduced ability to fight infections.