From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

August 5, 2020

Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer for which there is no cure. In 2020, of all patients newly diagnosed with a blood cancer, 18% are expected to be diagnosed with this type of blood cancer.

Depending on the stage, the average survival rate is five to seven years. Even though present-day treatment options slow its spread and make symptoms go away, patients with multiple myeloma eventually will relapse. Long term, 10-year survival among these patients is less than 10-15 percent.

The OHC clinical research program is a regional leader in the search for new and better treatments for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM). Among the array of myeloma clinical trials at OHC is a trial evaluating a new treatment for RRMM that has demonstrated significant results in initial trials. OHC is the only cancer practice in Ohio offering this new treatment for patients through its clinical trials program.

“When you have a relapse, it means your multiple myeloma symptoms return after you’ve been symptom-free for months or years. At this stage, the survival rate decreases,” said OHC’s Edward A. Faber, Jr., DO, MS, medical oncologist, hematologist and principal investigator of the study. “We want to improve their chances of survival with a new and better option after relapse, so we’re evaluating an exciting new treatment called belantamab mafodotin.”

Belantamab mafodotin is a drug known as a monoclonal antibody. It targets the antigen responsible for myeloma cell growth and survival. It binds to the antigen and causes the myeloma cell to die by releasing a toxin directly into the myeloma cells.

“In the initial clinical trials, 80% of patients responded — including 15% whose cancer was placed into remission — and they lived for an average of 12 months without any signs of disease worsening,” said Dr. Faber.

For patients with cancer, the availability and access to clinical trials is critical as these drugs are often more promising than what is presently offered.

“Ongoing research has greatly improved the prognosis for patients with multiple myeloma, as well as patients with other types of cancers,” Dr. Faber added. “This is why OHC is actively engaged in cancer research and clinical trials. Our mission is to continue with collaborations to find innovative treatments. The hope is that, one day, these innovative treatments may lead to a cure.”

If you have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and would like more information about treatments or a second opinion, visit and click Request An Appointment or call 1-888-649-4800.

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