• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Hope with new treatment in a clinical trial

June 16, 2019

Linda Kent has been living with multiple myeloma for seven years. After having only a partial response to the treatment she was on when she lived in Idaho, she moved to Florida and began a different treatment regimen at Mayo Clinic. Today, Linda is more hopeful than ever as she begins new treatment as part of a Mayo clinical trial.

In 2012, Linda Kent went to the doctor seeking relief from back pain. She assumed her discomfort was due to all her horseback riding. Instead, Linda was stunned to learn that the real reason for the pain was a type of cancer she had never heard of: multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is an incurable form of blood cancer that develops in a type of white blood cell, called a plasma cell, that resides inside bone marrow. Normal plasma cells produce proteins that build up the body's immune system. But multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow. Those cells produce abnormal proteins that damage the body and compromise the immune system.

Linda's evaluation revealed a 4-centimeter tumor on her spine that had developed as a result of the cancer. But that wasn't all. "When I was diagnosed, I had six other tumors in my body. I was pretty covered," Linda says. "Finding out about the one on my spine is what saved my life."

A disappointing start

To combat the cancer, Linda underwent radiation therapy. After that, she began chemotherapy and targeted systemic therapy. Four months later, her local care team in Idaho recommended another treatment regimen because testing showed Linda only had a partial response to the initial therapy. In February 2013, Linda underwent a bone marrow transplant. But that didn't have the long-lasting results she hoped for either. In June 2014, doctors discovered a new tumor on Linda's spine.

Linda continued to take the same medications she had been on prior to the bone marrow transplant. But then, in June 2017, she moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to be near her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. That move made a world of difference. Read the rest of Linda's story. _____________________________________
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.