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New form of treatment could mean better days for cancer patients, Mayo Clinic study says

Published: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 12:26pm

A recently published study found that a new type of treatment for multiple myeloma could mean better quality of life for patients. It is a cancer of the plasma cells, and roughly 47,000 people are diagnosed each year.

Dr. Sikander Ailawadhi is an oncologist with Mayo Clinic. He’s an author on the study and said the treatment basically works by “harnessing the immune system, training it, and using it against that cancer.”

They do this by assigning special markers to T-cells, which are already part of the body’s immune system. Ailawadhi said what’s most important about this discovery is how much it improves patients’ quality of life.

“[From a] pessimistic view, somebody might say, ‘Well, we’re just buying time,’” Ailawadhi said. “But we’re buying quality time to potentially do much much more.”

The results of the study, he said, are encouraging.

“The current standard of care drugs that were available to those patients on an average we’re giving four and a half months before the disease started progressing again,” Ailawadhi said. “And as compared to that, the CAR-T patients had more than a year.”

The hope is that continuing to push the envelope through research could mean earlier intervention for multiple myeloma patients, and eventually using this treatment method on other kinds of cancer.

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