The key word is “hope” from the recent IMW 2019 meeting, according to myeloma specialist Mohamad Mohty, MD, PhD, Professor of Hematology and head of the Hematology and Cellular Therapy Department at the Saint-Antoine Hospital at University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris, France.
Dr. Mohty shared two topics he believes stood out at the meeting:
What is the value of minimal residual disease testing? Can it be used to speed drug development? With more myeloma patients living longer, some clinical trials can take 10-15 years to come to conclusions. Dr. Mohty believes that MRD testing is on the right track and can be used by regulatory bodies as a clinical trial end point to accelerate the approval of new myeloma therapies.
CAR T Therapies
Dr. Mohty also shares that CAR T therapy is bringing many highly relapsed myeloma patients into remission but those remissions are not as durable as we would all hope. New strategies like dual CAR T cell therapies (going after two different targets at the same time) or “armored” CAR T cell therapies are now in development. Other approaches such as looking at the “soil” where myeloma is growing and evaluating the bone marrow microenvironment cytokines (or inflammatory markers) is being studied.
The work continues to find new ways of bringing patients into durable remissions that will hopefully lead to a cure.