The ZAMASA Foundation is targeting specific support for evolving cellular and gene based multiple myeloma treatment strategies. In this context, immunotherapeutic strategies directed to multiple myeloma are the key focus and will include both research and clinical activities. Immunotherapeutic strategies applicable to high risk multiple myeloma patients, being around 20-30% of all multiple myeloma patients, will also be targeted. Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defences to fight cancer. Immunotherapy applications to multiple myeloma exist in the form of immunomodulatory drugs (iMiDs), Proteasome inhibitors, stem cell transplantation and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Immunotherapy uses materials made by the body or in a laboratory to boost, target or restore a person’s immune system. In the context of multiple myeloma, recent noval immunotherapeutic strategies offer a new and exciting approach to the targeting of key molecular pathways that continue to be implicated in the survival of malignant plasma cells.
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that target specific cell surface proteins or antigens are expected to show meaningful advancement over the next few years. Outcomes associated with the recently approved mAbs, daratumomab (targeting cell surface protein CD38) and elotuzomab (targeting SLAMF7), in relapsed refractory multiple myeloma patients have demonstrated improving outcomes. There are many mAbs under investigation targeting a wide range of antigens (including CD38, CD138, IL6, BAFF, RANKL, DKK1, PD-1).
– BiTES have emerged as a promising therapeutic approach for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and some types of lymphoma and is being investigated in vitro and in vivo in multiple myeloma.
Cancer vaccines that treat cancer are still uncommon, but many are being studied in clinical trials and it is a promising area of ongoing research. The vaccines with which people are familiar are those against infectious disease which are administered to healthy individuals with a functioning immune system. They work by priming the immune system to respond to an antigen associated with a specific pathogen, so that when the system encounters the infection it already knows how to fight it. Cancer vaccines are administered in the presence of existing cancer and a dysfunctional immune system. The approach to vaccine therapy against cancer is to ensure the vaccine is equipped with the right antigen that might encourage an immune response to a tumour which is already present, but which the immune system has failed to respond to.
are a specific type of cancer drug that allows the immune system to destroy cancer cells and are promising agents that control anti-tumour immune responses. In multiple myeloma clinical trials (targeting the PD-1 and PD-L1 axis) are being conducted in combinations with the other drugs.
include Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells targeting various cell surface antigens, Marrow-infiltrating lymphocytes and donor derived T cells via allogenic transplant. In MM, the efficacy of immunotherapy is based on the observation that (allogenic) stem cell transplantation is curative for a subset of patients due to the donor derived immune response to recipient myeloma cells – the graft-versus-myeloma effect. As this is primarily medicated by allogenic T-cells it makes T-cells an interesting area of research.