Treatment Programs

Multiple Myeloma

The Center for Multiple Myeloma integrates the best in clinical care, research and support services to provide comprehensive, compassionate care for patients.

 

On this page you will find information to help you:

Information about Multiple Myeloma

Learn More about this Condition
Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer that affects plasma cells, a type of white blood cell.

Plasma cells, which are part of the immune (disease-fighting) system, produce antibodies — proteins that attack bacteria and viruses.  With multiple myeloma, the body makes too many plasma cells.  These plasma cells are also known as myeloma cells.  The myeloma cells build up in the bone marrow and can cause tumors (abnormal growths such as plasmacytomas).  Tumors may weaken the bone, affect the ability of the marrow to make blood, and other serious problems.

The American Cancer Society estimated that about 26,850 new cases of multiple myeloma would be diagnosed in the United States in 2015, and that the disease would cause about 11,240 deaths.

Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis
A diagnosis of multiple myeloma may be made through tests and procedures including some of the following:

  • Medical history and physical examination
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Bone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy
  • X-rays
  • Skeletal bone survey
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

Multiple Myeloma TreatmentTreatment for multiple myeloma may involve one or more of these options:

  • Chemotherapy kills myeloma cells through the use of intravenous (IV), subcutaneous (SC), or oral drugsUse of liquid nitrogen, or a probe that is very cold, to freeze and kill cancer cells
  • Corticosteroids may be used alone or in combination with other drugs to kill myeloma cells
  • Bisphosphonates such as zoledronic acid (Zometa) to strengthen the bone
  • Watchful waiting (for patients with smoldering myeloma that does not have any symptoms) involves careful monitoring of the disease until it progresses or symptoms emerge
  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to kill or shrink a tumor while saving healthy tissue
  • Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific parts of cancer cells without damaging normal cells
  • Stem cell transplantation involves infusing healthy stem cells previously collected from the patient to help the body recover faster after high dose chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials may provide access to new and promising therapies for multiple myeloma

Learn more about multiple myeloma on our patient education page.

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Our Multiple Myeloma Team

Every patient in the Center for Multiple Myeloma has a multidisciplinary care team of specialists who coordinate and oversee his or her care. Members of a patient's care team might include:

  • Medical oncologists to prescribe the most effective biologic agents, novel therapies and chemotherapies and who are focused on myeloma and related plasma cell disorders.
  • Nurse practitioners, who are specially trained in cancer care and who focus on patients with myeloma and related plasma cell disorders
  • Oncology nurses who are specially trained and certified in cancer care
  • Bone Marrow Transplant Team of doctors and nurses with expertise autologous (and allogeneic) transplantation procedures
  • Pathologists and radiologists specializing in multiple myeloma who provide a precise diagnosis of your cancer
  • Orthopedic oncologists experienced in the latest approaches for spine stabilization surgeries and surgical fixation procedures in bone problems due to cancer.
  • Radiation oncologists who specialize in delivering the highest therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
  • Interventional radiologists who specialize in vertebral augmentation procedures
  • Oncology psychiatrists, social workers, and chaplains provide family, spiritual, emotional and mental health support.
  • A nutritionist to help you with questions about diet during treatment
  • Palliative care providers to improve quality of life
  • Noopur Raje, MD

    See the Complete Team List

    Noopur Raje, MD
    Clinical Director, Center for Multiple Myeloma

     

     

     

      

     

    See the complete team list treating Multiple Myeloma

     

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    Our Approach

    Multiple Myeloma Treatment Program

    The Center for Multiple Myeloma provides comprehensive treatment for all stages of multiple myeloma and a condition called MGUS, or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. MGUS can progress to become multiple myeloma. We also treat patients with related plasma cell disorders, including:

    • Multiple myeloma
    • Smoldering multiple myeloma
    • Monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance
    • Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia
    • Amyloidosis
    • Light chain deposition disease
    • Other rare conditions

    We tailor treatment to each individual patient. Each member of our multidisciplinary care team has special expertise in treating this particular kind of cancer.

    Innovative Approaches

    The Center for Multiple Myeloma provides comprehensive clinical care in a compassionate and caring environment. Our patients receive:

    • The latest treatments and access to cutting-edge research, clinical trials, and novel targeted therapies
    • Access to the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, where autologous and allogenic stem cell transplants are performed

    Expertise in Diagnosing Cancers

    Correct diagnosis of each patient’s cancer is critical to treatment planning. Specialists in the Center for Multiple Myeloma treat a large number of patients, and our pathologists examine a corresponding large number of tissue samples. This enables each pathologist to develop specialized knowledge about cancer types and to keep up-to-date on new research. Our pathologists are routinely consulted by pathologists around the country for help with challenging cases. Our pathologists conduct evaluations of samples to offer second opinions through state-of-the art technology, including:

  • Advanced microscopy
  • Flow cytometry technology that allows for the detection of minimal residual disease
  • A broad range of histochemical analyses
  • Cytogenetic technologies that examine the chromosomes of cells from samples of bone marrow
  • Molecular evaluation techniques such as fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) of cancer cells that deliver more precise diagnoses 
  • Advanced Medical Oncology

    Novel therapies, both on their own and in combination with other drugs, are a major component of treatment for multiple myeloma.  Our center provides access to the latest clinical trials with novel combinations.

    Pioneering Radiation Therapies

    In cases where cancer has greatly affected a patient’s bones, particularly the spine, radiation therapy may be prescribed in addition to chemotherapy. External beam radiation therapy may help ease the pain of weakened bones while also attacking the cancer cells in the bone marrow.

    Excellence in Surgical

    While surgery is not a standard therapy for multiple myeloma, orthopedic surgeons are often members of a patient’s care team. Our program works closely with orthopedic surgeons who are specialized in caring for patients whose bones have become weakened or fractured by multiple myeloma. Orthopedic surgeons are also skilled in recognizing signs of disease in damaged bones and are often instrumental in diagnosing this type of cancer. Some patients with multiple myeloma may benefit from bone marrow transplantation, which is discussed during initial meetings with a patient’s team.

    Research and Clinical Trials

    Clinical trials are research studies of new drugs, new combinations of drugs or already approved drugs being studied to treat patients in new and different ways. They may include new drug doses or new ways (schedules) to give the drugs. Clinical trials are run under strict guidelines. Their purpose is to help find out whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard (current) treatment. At Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, there are several clinical trials open for the treatment of breast cancer that use the latest in cancer treatments.

    Cancer is increasingly becoming a disease in which the genetic make-up of each individual cancer drives therapy. The Center for Multiple Myeloma also has access to clinical trials involving these targeted therapy approaches.

    Click below to find listings of our current clinical trials.

    Find Clinical Trials for this Condition

    The Cancer Center also offers the Lazarex-MGH Cancer Care Equity Program, which strives to promote awareness about and access to cancer clinical trials through community outreach and education, financial assistance, and patient navigation. Click here to find out more about this program.

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    Contact UsIf you have any questions or would like to set up a new patient appointment, please call the Center for Multiple Myeloma at 617-724-4000. 

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    Myeloma Bone Disease / Multiple Myeloma

    Myeloma bone disease is cancer that affects certain white blood cells called plasma cells.

    The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

    The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

    Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

    The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

    Illuminations Program

    Illuminations is a rotating art exhibit displayed in the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The program aims to enlighten and encourage patients and their loved ones by enhancing our environment of care.

    The PACT Program

    The Marjorie E. Korff PACT program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides psycho-educational support for parents who are patients.

    Oncology Chaplaincy

    Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

    Home Disconnect

    A home infusion pump may be part of your treatment plan. In some cases, you may have the option for disconnecting the chemotherapy from home. If this option applies to you, and you would prefer to disconnect from home, this instructional video will reinforce the teaching provided to you by your nurse in the Mass General cancer Center

    The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

    Shutting down myeloma growth

    Shutting down myeloma growth by changing the soil where it grows with Dr. Noopur Raje of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

    The Personalized Medicine Approach to Treating Myeloma

    Dr. Noopur Raje, Director of the Center for Multiple Myeloma at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, discusses the results of a practice changing trial, presented at the American Society of Hematolog (ASH) Conference, confirming the continuous use of lenalidomide in the newly diagnosed myeloma patient.

    The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

    The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

    Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

    The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

    Illuminations Program

    Illuminations is a rotating art exhibit displayed in the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The program aims to enlighten and encourage patients and their loved ones by enhancing our environment of care.

    The PACT Program

    The Marjorie E. Korff PACT program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides psycho-educational support for parents who are patients.

    Oncology Chaplaincy

    Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

    Home Disconnect

    A home infusion pump may be part of your treatment plan. In some cases, you may have the option for disconnecting the chemotherapy from home. If this option applies to you, and you would prefer to disconnect from home, this instructional video will reinforce the teaching provided to you by your nurse in the Mass General cancer Center

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    Phone: 617-726-5130

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