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How Does Myeloma Cause Chromosome Loss?

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Published on February 13, 2018

Why does chromosome loss occur in myeloma patients, and how can it be treated? Myeloma expert, Dr. Robert Orlowski from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, gives key insight into the molecular behavior of the disease, when genetic abnormalities can occur, and shares what myeloma treatments are available today. Watch now to learn more.

Produced by Patient Power in partnership with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. We thank Incyte Inc. and Takeda Oncology for their support.

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Transcript | How Does Myeloma Cause Chromosome Loss?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Jack Aiello:

So I'd like to ask a couple of questions that came in with respect to the biology. Gary asks, for example, "Can you explain how myeloma—Dr. Orlowski—causes chromosome loss and how you address it?" 

Dr. Orlowski:     

Yeah. Great question. One of the hallmarks of myeloma—and this is true for other cancers as well—is what we call genomic instability. Every time that a normal cell divides, it has to make a complete copy of the chromosomes, which are kind of its instruction manual. And then you have to get two copies of each to each of the daughter cells. But cancer cells make more mistakes when they copy the chromosomes.

They don't catch them and edit them as well. And sometimes, they can make mistakes when those cells divide. For example, some patients have myeloma with what's called hyperdiploidy where they have more than the normal two copies of some chromosomes. And this can cause the myeloma to behave a little bit differently in some cases. And as we talked about earlier, like the fish changing, at times, this also can change over time. Because as the myeloma cells divide in the patient's body throughout the years, new abnormalities can arise that weren't present before. As of right now, we don't have—for the most part—specific drugs to address some of the different abnormalities. Except for venetoclax (Venclexta) which Dr. Raje mentioned before about the 11;14 translocation.

But we are trying to develop drugs that would be what I like to call designer drugs. Where you would use it, for example, just in 11;14. And then in 4;14. And maybe deletion 17P. Because then hopefully, we would be able to improve the outcomes in those settings.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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