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Multiple Myeloma Treatment

Multiple myeloma, a malignancy of plasma cells, presents a formidable challenge within the hematology field. The disease is characterized by the uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow, leading to various clinical complications. Despite the complexity of this disease, the evolution of treatment strategies has been substantial, offering patients hope and an improved prognosis. 

Today, a diverse range of treatment options, each with its own mechanism of action and therapeutic potential, forms the cornerstone of multiple myeloma management. From the mainstay of chemotherapy and the precision of radiotherapy to the targeted approach of novel agents and the revolutionary promise of CAR T-cell therapy, our understanding and ability to treat this disease have reached new heights. Following is an overview of current treatment options.

For patients who do need treatment, the following therapies are offered at Sheba:


Chemotherapy remains a foundational treatment for multiple myeloma, leveraging a range of medications to target and destroy cancerous cells. As a systemic therapy, it offers the advantage of reaching cancer cells wherever they may reside in the body, making it effective against both localized and metastatic disease.

When it comes to treating multiple myeloma, chemotherapy can have various roles: it may serve as the primary treatment aimed at eradicating the disease, as a control measure to inhibit cancer progression, or as palliative intervention to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Additionally, it can be an integral part of a maintenance strategy to prevent relapse after initial treatment success.

Oncologists at Sheba customize chemotherapy to individual needs, considering factors such as the type and stage of cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health. The selection of drugs, dosages, routes of administration and treatment schedules are carefully tailored to maximize efficacy while minimizing side effects, ensuring that the treatment plan aligns with the patient’s needs and health goals.

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Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy represents a modern approach to cancer treatment. As a form of biological therapy, it utilizes drugs designed to interfere with specific molecular targets that are involved in the growth, progression, and spread of cancer cells. To develop these drugs, scientists conduct molecular research into cancer cell mechanisms.

As part of personalized treatment, oncologists often conduct a biopsy to identify the presence of specific molecular markers that will respond to targeted drugs. This form of therapy can be effective on its own, but it is commonly combined with other treatments to maximize its impact.

Treatment plans incorporating targeted therapy are meticulously tailored, considering the type, stage of cancer, and the patient’s health and quality of life. As oncological research progresses, the spectrum of targeted therapies continues to broaden, offering new avenues for treatment.

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Radiation Therapy

Radiotherapy is a vital component in the multifaceted treatment of multiple myeloma. Unlike chemotherapy, radiotherapy is a localized treatment, concentrating high-energy rays directly on cancerous cells. This focused approach aims to cause irreparable damage to the DNA of cancer cells, hindering their ability to multiply and ultimately leading to their demise.

Radiotherapy can also be utilized to shrink localized tumors, eradicate cancer cells in preparation for a bone marrow transplant or as a prophylactic measure to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

Additionally, it serves an important role in palliative care, alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life for patients with advanced stage cancer. In cases where cancer returns, radiotherapy may also be used in an attempt to manage and treat the recurrence. The precision of radiotherapy minimizes the impact on healthy tissues, which is a significant advantage in preserving the patient’s overall wellbeing.

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Bone marrow/ stem cell transplant

Bone marrow transplantation is a transformative treatment for blood cancers, significantly enhancing patient survival rates and offering a potential path to remission. This procedure replenishes the body’s ability to generate healthy blood cells by infusing healthy precursor cells into the patient’s bone marrow. Harvested from compatible donors, these cells are crucial for restoring normal marrow function, especially after it’s been compromised by cancer treatments.

Expert medical teams, equipped with advanced genetic testing technologies, ensure the best possible match between a donor and a patient, a critical factor in the transplant’s success. In scenarios where a match is challenging to find, extended donor registries are used to identify suitable cells.

At Sheba, throughout the transplantation, the patient’s overall health and quality of life remain the main priority, reflecting our patient-centered approach to cancer care. This comprehensive strategy aims to treat the cancer effectively while supporting the patient’s wellbeing during and after the procedure.

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CAR T-Cell Therapy

CAR T-cell therapy is an innovative form of immunotherapy for patients with multiple myeloma. This advanced treatment involves reprogramming the patient’s T-cells, a type of immune cell, with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that enable them to recognize and destroy cancer cells more effectively.

The procedure starts with extracting the patient’s T-cells, which are then genetically engineered in a laboratory to identify and attack cancer cells once reintroduced into the patient’s body. Prior to reinfusion, patients undergo chemotherapy to create an optimal environment for the CAR T-cells to proliferate and perform their function.

This therapy is notable for its potential to induce long-lasting cancer remission with a single treatment, as the modified T-cells can persist and continue to fight cancerous cells over time.
The advanced treatment is only available in select medical facilities, including Sheba.

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Treatment of Symptoms and Complications

Addressing the symptoms and complications that arise from multiple myeloma is a key aspect of care, with the goal of improving the patient’s comfort and overall health. 

Pain from bone damage may be reduced with appropriate pain relievers, targeted radiation or surgical interventions. For patients with kidney impairment, supportive treatments like dialysis may become essential. Vaccinations are critical in shielding patients from infections such as the flu and pneumonia. To strengthen weakened bones, doctors prescribe medications to enhance bone density. As for anemia, a frequent condition in MM patients, treatments that encourage red blood cell production are utilized, helping restore energy and reduce fatigue. 

At Sheba, our holistic approach to care ensures that while we aggressively combat the disease, we also prioritize the patient’s quality of life, addressing the full spectrum of their needs for a more comfortable and hopeful journey to recovery.


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Sheba Medical Center provides innovative, personalized medical care to patients from around the world. We are the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East and dedicated to providing advanced and compassionate medicine for everyone. We welcome all cases, including the rarest and the most challenging. Our medical teams collaborate to provide the best possible health outcomes. From your initial inquiry through the long-term follow-up care, we are here for you.

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