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.

Our ProgramOur program provides comprehensive treatment for all stages of multiple myeloma as well as a condition called MGUS, or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, a precursor to multiple myeloma. We also treat patients with related plasma cell disorders, including:

  • Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia
  • Amyloidosis
  • Light chain deposition disease
  • Many other rare conditions

Treatment at the Center for Multiple Myeloma is tailored to each individual patient and coordinated by a multidisciplinary care team in which each member has a specialized expertise in treating this particular kind of cancer.

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

  • The most updated treatments and access to cutting-edge research and novel targeted therapies
  • Access to the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, where autologous and allogenic stem cell transplants are performed
  • The expertise of a multidisciplinary team, including radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, orthopaedic and spine surgeons

Multidisciplinary Patient Care 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
  • Bone Marrow Transplant Team of doctors and nurses with expertise in both allogeneic and autologous 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.
  • Radiation oncologists who specialize in delivering the highest therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
  • Interventional radiologists who specialize in vertebral augmentation procedures
  • Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners who are specially trained in cancer care
  • 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

 

Multiple Myeloma Cancer Treatment – Massachusetts General Hospital

Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Cancers

Correct diagnosis and staging of each patient’s cancer is critical to treatment planning and obtaining the best outcome. At the Center for Multiple Myeloma, our hematopathologists are among the best in the world.

Because of its size and reputation, specialists in our program examine a large number of tissue samples. This volume enables each pathologist to develop a high level of specialized knowledge about a particular type of cancer and to keep up-to-date on new research.

Our pathologists also conduct a high number of evaluations of samples in order to offer second opinions. State-of-the art technology further enhances the capacities of our pathologists, including:

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

Advanced Medical Oncology
Novel therapies are a major component of treatment for multiple myeloma. Agents such as Thalidomide, Lenalidomide and Velcade may be appropriate for patients with this disease. Other therapies, used singularly or in combination, may be used. Because multiple myeloma can damage and weaken bones, medications known as bisphosphonates can also be given to help treat damaged bones. 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 Care
While surgery is not a standard therapy for multiple myeloma, orthopedic surgeons are often members of a patient’s care team. Multiple myeloma can cause bones to weaken and fracture. Our program works closely with expert orthopedic surgeons to care for these patients. In addition, these orthopedic surgeons are highly 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. This option is discussed with patients during initial meetings with their Cancer Center team.

Treating Cancer through Clinical Trials
Because the Cancer Center is a world-class academic cancer treatment and research facility, patients at the Center for Multiple Myeloma benefit from access to many clinical trials of promising new therapies. Our physician-researchers are leading or participating in numerous trials to explore new and better therapies for treating this disease.
Studies in newly diagnosed patients

  • We use novel drug combinations, including velcade and Revlimid, in newly diagnosed patients with the goal of achieving durable and prolonged remissions.

Studies in advanced Myeloma patients

  • We have several exciting studies in which we use novel targeted agents such as mTOR inhibitors, cell cycle inhibitors, heat shock protein inhibitors, and histone deacytalase inhibitors.
  • These drugs are being studied either alone or in combination with some of the backbone agents such as velcade and Revlimid.

Studies following autologous transplantation

  • We offer high dose therapy with stem cell rescue with either autologous or allogeneic stem cells.
  • We have several studies looking at immunological approaches such as vaccination strategies and maintenance approaches, with the goal of treating minimal residual disease and prolonging remissions.

Supportive care studies for Myeloma patients

  • We have several studies evaluating alternate approaches to traditional therapies, as well as use of novel agents in the treatment of bone disease.

View a complete list of open trials.

Developing Better Therapies through Research
In addition to clinical trials, the Center for Multiple Myeloma is on the cutting edge of research to improve therapy for multiple myeloma. We focus on several areas of laboratory research including stem cell biology and the interactions of stem cells with the niche. We study the myeloma tumor cell in the context of the bone marrow microenvironment, with a specific focus on the bone compartment. These studies allow us to identify and validate novel targets and clinical-grade compounds and translate them rapidly into clinical trials for the treatment of multiple myeloma and associated bone disease.

Those tumor cell microenvironment interactions that can be translated into therapies are prioritized and several clinical trials with novel targeted agents either alone or in combination are currently underway. These clinical trials are accompanied by specific translational endpoints, allowing us to validate and confirm the biologic sequelae of interfering with specific targets in our patients with myeloma. Our transplant team is also focused on developing novel strategies. Techniques being explored are those to improve tolerance among patients receiving a transplant as well as those that make transplant possible in patients for whom a perfect donor match is not available. The Center for Myeloma is dedicated to advancing research to improve the clinical outcomes and the lives of patients with this type of cancer.

Myeloma Bone Disease / Multiple Myeloma

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

Support & WellnessTreatment for multiple myeloma often involves temporary and sometimes permanent changes that affect a patient’s life and places stress on the entire family.

We are dedicated to addressing the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of all of our patients and their families by providing access to a wide range of free educational and support services.

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 Room

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Room at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides cancer patients and their families with information and resources for living with cancer.

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.

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 Room

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Room at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides cancer patients and their families with information and resources for living with cancer.

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.

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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