A new approach gives promising results for the treatment of multiple myeloma, considered incurable with conventional chemotherapy, resulted in a total cure rate of 41%, a record level.
A new therapeutic approach tested by a team from Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal) and the University of Montreal gives promising results for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow currently considered incurable with conventional chemotherapy and for which the average life expectancy is about 6 or 7 years.
The study was lead be Dr. Jean Roy, a haematologist at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and professor at the University of Montreal, between 2001 and 2010 with 92 newly diagnosed patients. Using an approach developed at Maisonneuve-Rosemont, consisting of an autograft to reduce tumour mass followed by a family allograft three to four months later to clean the bone marrow of myeloma cells with immune cells from a family donor (immunotherapy), the study resulted in a total cure rate of 41%, a record level using this strategy. Moreover, patients in complete remission six months after the allograft had a relapse-free survival rate of 60%. Overall, the autograft strategy followed by allograft resulted in relapse-free survival rates of 20-25% in the long term.
“In many hospitals, doctors have abandoned the use of allografts for multiple myeloma due to the risk of toxicity and relapse. Our results, on the other hand, have led us to offer the treatment to more patients, especially younger patients and those with poorer prognoses,” said Dr. Roy.
The results of this research were published in the specialized journal Bone Marrow Transplantation.
Other encouraging data
Moreover, in the same study, the mortality rate associated with this treatment over ten years was 10%, an extremely low rate following a family donor allograft. And while 50% of patients experienced a relapse of their myeloma, the subsequent treatment showed marked efficacy: 50% of these patients were alive five years after the relapse.
Based on these results, a new study aiming to reduce rates of relapse and complications is currently underway at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, with still preliminary but very encouraging results.
The study was supported by the University of Montreal's William Brock Fund.
About the CIUSSS de l'Est-de l'Île-de-Montréal
The Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-EMTL) encompasses 26 facilities and serves a population of more than 500,000 Montrealers. Affiliated with the Université de Montréal, it offers a complete range of frontline healthcare and social services, housing services, and general, specialized, and superspecialized hospital services and mental health care. Thanks to its two research centres and its four pillars of excellence in mental health, immuno-hematology, eye healthcare and nephrology, the CIUSSS-EMTL is a leader in health innovation in Canada. Its teams´ innovative ideas contribute to its national and international reach.
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