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Dr Sathish Kumar Gopalakrishnan, Director of the Multiple Myeloma Service and Consultant at the Department of Haematology, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares on treatment option for multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell found in the soft centre of your bones, called the bone marrow.

Treatment options for multiple myeloma

There are several treatment options for multiple myeloma which help slow the condition’s progress and control complications arising from it. These treatments can also help relieve pain and stabilise your condition. Your doctor may prescribe different treatments based on your age and the symptoms that you have.

Chemotherapy and “novel” agents: “Novel agents” are medicines that target cancer cells directly without significant effects on non-cancer cells. Chemotherapy medicine have effect on normal and abnormal cells alike. All patients of multiple myeloma will require a combination of novel agents along with steroids to control the illness.

Stem cell transplant: A stem cell transplant is a procedure that replaces your bone marrow with a healthy one. High doses of chemotherapy drugs are used before a stem cell transplant to eradicate the myeloma cells in your body. Stem cell transplantation is recommended to patients who are medically fit to receive an intensive treatment approach.

Radiation therapy: Also known as radiotherapy, this treatment can help relieve pain and swelling caused by myeloma and is an useful complement to other modes of treatments.

Development in treatment for multiple myeloma

"There is currently no cure for multiple myeloma. However, there is a constant effort to improve treatment outcomes through clinical trials of newer drugs," says Dr Sathish Kumar Gopalakrishnan.

There are at least two classes of “novel” therapies available for treatment of multiple myeloma along with conventional (older) treatment. Singapore General Hospital is actively involved in multiple myeloma clinical trials.

For more information, please visit the SGH Multiple Myeloma Clinical Trials page.

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