What New Therapies Are “Game Changers” for Advanced Myeloma?

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Topics include: Treatments

In this Ask the Expert segment, Dr. Larry Anderson, Jr. of University of Texas Southwest Medical Center answers a question regarding pembrolizumab (Keytruda), anti-PD1 drugs and CAR-T cell therapies as potential treatments for advanced myeloma.  Dr. Anderson explains how these treatments work and shares his excitement for future combination therapies.

Clinical Trials Mentioned in This Video:

pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
 T Cells 
Checkpoint Inhibitors
Immunomodulatory Drugs (IMID)

This Ask the Expert series is sponsored by the Patient Empowerment Network, which received funding from Celgene, Novartis and Takeda.

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Transcript

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:

Dr. Anderson, we got this question in from Grasha, and Grasha asks, I understand that there was a lot of discussion regarding a drug called Keytruda at ASCO, the American Society of Clinical Oncology—kind of the World Series in cancer.  Do you consider this drug or a related anti-PD-1 drug, so that work on the immune system—you can explain that—as promising for myeloma and might it along with T-cell therapies—you better explain that one, too—be game-changers for the treatment of advanced disease?  

Dr. Anderson:

That's a great question. So regarding Keytruda, otherwise known as pembrolizumab, that is a very promising drug in myeloma. It looks like it probably needs to be given along with other therapies to make it work best. But even in patients that have failed multiple lines of prior therapy are having nice responses to that medication, and it is sort of, as you mentioned in the other interview, decloaking the myeloma cells so that the T-cell part of the immune system can recognize those myeloma cells. 

And that together with other drugs that activate the immune system like immunomodulatory drugs seem to be very powerful in overcoming resistant myeloma.  And I think it's an interesting question, can we combine that with other T-cell therapies, some of the hot topics right now in all hematologic malignancies, are they chimeric antigen receptor…

Andrew Schorr:

CAR T cell.  

Dr. Anderson:

…are CAR T-cell therapy, which is in the early stages in myeloma, so far appears to be promising but, you know, more to come later.  But the combination of these drugs with the CAR T-cell therapy does sound very promising. I think in the future we're going to see a lot more studies with these combinations. 

Andrew Schorr:

So in what she asked about, whether it's CAR T cells or anti-PD-1 type drugs to decloak myeloma cells, she asks, well, is there a game-changer in there.  From your sense, do you feel in what's going on now that there is a game-changer in there 

Dr. Anderson:

Yeah. Certainly we're hoping that the checkpoint inhibitors like pembrolizumab, the PD-1 inhibitors can be a game-changer. So far they appear to be very promising. Also the CAR T-cell therapy I'm very hopeful is going to be a game-changer, especially when we start talking about combinations—combinations of these things.  I'm very excited about that. 

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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Page last updated on July 17, 2017