• By Rhoda Madson

Expert Alert: What’s on the horizon for multiple myeloma and other blood cancers

January 20, 2021
microscopic slide of a myeloma cell

ROCHESTER, Minnesota — World Cancer Day is Feb. 4, 2021, highlighting how everyone can help reduce the global burden of cancer. In 2018, there were 17.0 million new cancer cases and 9.5 million cancer deaths worldwide.

The three major types of blood cancer are leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Multiple myeloma was ranked 21st in the number of new cases in 2020, according to the World Health Organization.

Mustaqeem Siddiqui, M.D., is a hematologist and expert in multiple myeloma at Mayo Clinic. In early 2021, he will be taking on a new role in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City in Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Siddiqui can discuss new research and various treatments for multiple myeloma, which include stem cell transplant, immunomodulators, proteasome inhibitors and targeted drug therapy. Some of the research includes:

  • The safety and efficacy of REGN5458, a monoclonal antibody, which has been used in people who already have been treated for multiple myeloma. Several institutions are participating in this study. Dr. Siddiqui is the local principal investigator at Mayo Clinic.
  • Individualized medicine approaches to fight multiple myeloma. In recent years, Mayo researchers and others have uncovered information about the genetic mutations that help multiple myeloma cells survive and multiply. Researchers have condensed that large genomic database into a test panel to detect genetic mutations that have relevance to prognosis and optimal drug therapies for individual patients

Dr. Siddiqui also can discuss new research in hematology, including:

  • CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing is promising in sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent ß-thalassemia.
  • A study has identified more precise assessment measures for people newly diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Researchers are developing ways to assess effectiveness of cancer-fighting cell therapy.

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