Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that accumulates in the bone marrow and interferes with normal blood precursors and bone remodelling, thus causing anaemia, bone lesions, renal insufficiency and recurrent infections. Between four and five out of 100,000 people are diagnosed every year. Despite the fact that treatments and prognosis have greatly improved in recent years, multiple myeloma is not yet curable. It is a recurrent disease that can leave important sequelae after each relapse.
Our clinical research team participates in the main international collaborative phase I to phase III trials establishing the current standards of care, with a particular focus on the optimal combinations of agents with clinically relevant synergies.
Active trials are already focusing on the efficacy of next-generation combinations, including antibody-drug conjugates, T-cell engagers and CAR-T cells. We are interested in the identification of subjects unlikely to respond to optimized first-line strategies and, therefore, of ideal candidates for such trials with novel immunotherapeutic approaches.
We believe that the drug combinations currently being evaluated can cure a proportion of patients with multiple myeloma. Furthermore, we believe that it should be possible to predict patients in whom such combinations are not curative so that we can promote early interventions with alternative agents, mainly based on immunotherapeutic approaches to prevent the clinical consequences of full-blown relapse and maintain a symptom-free response in patients.
On this regard, our main goals are:
1. To define standards of treatment that provide a long-lasting response in most individuals.
2. To identify patients who will probably be cured and will safely remain treatment-free.
3. To identify patients who are unlikely to be disease-free for long with current treatments and search for alternative treatment options that can be applied before recurring disease causes organic damage.
Full-blown multiple myeloma has devastating consequences that severely reduce patients’ quality of life and autonomy and represent a huge burden for caregivers and families. Therefore, the diagnosis of multiple myeloma has a dramatic impact on individuals and society. Through our research, we hope to answer the following questions:
1. What patients are unlikely to obtain prolonged benefits from current standards?
2. Would they benefit from early intervention with alternative agents?
3. Can we identify patients who will potentially be cured or are unlikely to relapse and safely spare them the burden of continuous therapy?