The Siteman Approach to Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that begins in white blood cells called plasma cells. When plasma cells become cancerous, they can affect the body in a number of ways. Patients with multiple myeloma are more prone to bone fractures, kidney disease, and infections.

Multiple myeloma is a type of “plasma cell neoplasm,” a condition involving abnormal plasma cells. There are other types of plasma cell neoplasms, but multiple myeloma is the most serious.

Today, there are many drugs and therapies that can treat multiple myeloma and allow patients to live normal lives.

The multiple myeloma specialists at Siteman Cancer Center are experts at helping patients navigate the course of their disease.  If you come to Siteman with a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, you will be in excellent hands.

The Siteman difference

Siteman Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Missouri. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks us among the top cancer facilities in the nation.

Since its founding in 1999, Siteman has been leading the charge against cancer from the middle of the Midwest. Our Washington University oncologists and scientists have an impressive track record of discoveries that have fundamentally changed how cancer is treated.

At Siteman, we unite compassionate patient care and ground-breaking cancer research.

Specialized oncologists

When you come to Siteman, you will be treated by oncologists who specialize in multiple myeloma. This means that they only treat patients with myeloma or other blood disorders. Our team sees more than 300 new multiple myeloma patients every year.

Multiple myeloma is a complex form of cancer to treat. The myeloma specialists at Siteman are the best equipped in the region to handle your unique case.

Leading-edge research

The Washington University oncologists on Siteman’s myeloma team are internationally-recognized myeloma researchers. In their laboratories, they study how multiple myeloma works, dissecting it in search of new targets for drugs and therapies. Their efforts have led to new medications that help patients with myeloma every day.

Siteman Cancer Center is a member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, an organization that works to convert laboratory discoveries into new patient treatments. Siteman is one of only 14 facilities worldwide to be a part of this elite group.

Safer stem cell transplants

Some patients with multiple myeloma will require a stem cell transplant to put their disease into remission. Often referred to as a bone marrow transplant, a stem cell transplant is a procedure that allows for the administration of intensive chemotherapy to kill off more of the cancer cells. This restores the normal function of the bone marrow, allowing it to produce red and white blood cells and platelets.

Stem cell transplants are a complicated procedure. For best results, it’s important to go to a well-established program at an academic medical center.

The Stem Cell Transplant Program at Siteman Cancer Center is one of the largest and most prestigious in the nation. Each year, over 400 patients receive transplants at Siteman. If your care team decides that a stem cell transplant could help you, your Washington University oncologists and specialist nurses have the knowledge and experience to bring you through it safely.

CAR T-cell therapy

CAR T-cell therapy is a groundbreaking new treatment in which immune cells taken from a patient’s body are genetically engineered so they can attack and destroy cancer cells. It can help patients with multiple myeloma achieve longer remissions. Clinical trials are currently exploring whether it could even have curative potential.

At this time, the FDA has not yet licensed CAR T-cell therapy for use in patients with multiple myeloma. However, you may still be able to receive the treatment through a clinical trial at Siteman.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are studies evaluating new medical therapies. If you participate in a clinical trial, you may get early access to the latest, most advanced treatments for your cancer. Sometimes, clinical trials can offer hope to patients who have not found success with other forms of therapy.

Siteman Cancer Center houses more clinical trials than any other facility in the region. Your physicians may suggest enrolling you in a clinical trial if they believe you would benefit.