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Are Transplants Still Needed in Myeloma?

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Published on June 12, 2018

With all of the advances in cancer care offered in what many call “the era of precision medicine,” are transplants still recommended for multiple myeloma treatment? How does it compare with other modern medicines? On location at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, Dr. James Berenson gives an expert perspective on the current role of transplant in myeloma care, and shares insight to the future course of treatment with more targeted therapies. Dr. Berenson says, “it’s not about more, it’s about being more specific.” How are researchers accomplishing this for myeloma patients? Watch now to find out. 

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Transcript | Are Transplants Still Needed in Myeloma?

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.

Andrew Schorr:

Here's a question we got from Patti.  Patti wants to know what are the reasons or criteria now for needing a transplant, tandem transplant, and are there studies that show this is generally worth the risk? You and I have talked about transplant before, but what's the data? 

Dr. Berenson:

Well, the data for transplants for me is don't ever do them, so we don't recommend ever in myeloma.  We don't believe they work, and we certainly believe in the era of all these new therapies it's going to be hard for us to prove it does anything.  We like to say it's not about more, it's about being more specific, and targeting things like BCMA or Bcl?2 with venetoclax (Venclexta) or JAK1 and 2, with ruxolitinib (Jakafi), that's being more specific.  So we don't actually recommend let alone single—a double, I should say, we don't rule out recommending single transplants in myeloma.   

Andrew Schorr:

Patti, I mean, realistically, there's difference of opinion.  They started doing the transplants years ago down in Arkansas.  And so you guys have debates about this I know.  

Dr. Berenson:

Yeah. In fact, my identical twin brother wrote the first auto-transplant protocol, which is funny because we're identical twins, at the [Fred] Hutchinson Cancer [Research] Center in Seattle back in the mid-‘80s, and he actually invented a device for those.  And my only two long?term survivors of transplant both got his in the late ‘90s.  But we don't recommend it anymore at all for myeloma.   

Dr. Berenson:

Right.  

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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