• By Dana Sparks

Discovery’s Edge: Multiple myeloma pioneer

April 11, 2017

For more than 60 years, Robert Kyle, M.D., has catalogued patient histories, archived blood samples and observed a vast number of people with plasma cell proliferative disorders. His methodical examination of the data allowed him to classify these disorders into groups:

  • Benign — monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance
  • Intermediate — smoldering multiple myeloma
  • Severe — multiple myeloma

This groundbreaking work has changed the practice of medicine.

Because of Dr. Kyle, today’s patients have a much clearer idea of whether or not their condition will progress to myeloma and, if so, at what stage in their life they can expect to develop symptoms. Today’s specialists understand that the benign and intermediate forms are best carefully monitored but left untreated to avoid the potentially debilitating side effects of therapy. In many cases, people do not develop symptoms until very late in life or die of unrelated reasons before the disorder causes problems.

Dr. Kyle also launched the dysproteinemia group at Mayo Clinic, which is now the strongest and largest such team in the world. The group includes 12 physicians who specialize exclusively in these disorders. Their research and clinical advances have led to substantial prolongations in the life expectancies of their patients. At a sprightly 83, the founding member continues his research, adding to the numerous associated conditions and syndromes that he has already identified.  Read the rest of the article.
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