Emerging Multiple Myeloma Drugs and Chemotherapy to Treat Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer and is also known by the name of plasma cell myeloma. It is a cancer of a type of white blood cells, known as plasma cells. Plasma cells are mainly responsible for producing antibodies that help our body in fighting infections. But, when these cells become cancerous, they start producing abnormal proteins instead of antibodies. The cancer cells also deposit in the bone marrow and displace the healthy blood cells.

The causes of multiple myeloma drugs are not known, although the exposure to radiation, a family history, and obesity are considered to be the risk factors for the disease. The cancer may not produce any symptoms in the early stage, but in the advanced stage, patients usually experience bone pain, anaemia, bleeding, and frequent infections. The treatment options available for multiple myeloma are – chemotherapy, targeted therapy, stem cell transplant, radiation therapy (to reduce pain), steroids, and bisphosphonates.

The following are the main types of multiple myeloma drugs used to treat this condition –

Chemotherapy Drugs for Multiple Myeloma -

  • Melphalan
  • Vincristine (Oncovin)
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • Etoposide (VP-16)
  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • Liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil)
  • Bendamustine (Treanda)

These chemotherapy drugs are usually combined with corticosteroids and immune-modulating agents for treating multiple myeloma. Chemotherapy drugs are used to destroy the cancerous cells, and their ability to grow and multiply. However, these drugs can cause a number of side effects such as nausea and vomiting, hair loss, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, and constipation.

Corticosteroids Used for Multiple Myeloma

  • Dexamethasone
  • Prednisone

Corticosteroids are usually combined with other multiple myeloma drugs, in order to treat this cancer. Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation and they can also help in managing certain side effects associated with the chemotherapy drugs such as nausea and vomiting.

Targeted Therapy Drugs for Multiple Myeloma 

  • Bortezomib
  • Carfilzomib
  • Ixazomib
  • Panobinostat
  • Elotuzumab
  • Daratumumab
  • Thalidomide
  • Lenalidomide
  • Pomalidomide

These multiple myeloma drugs are used to target the specific genes, proteins, or tissues that are associated with the growth and survival of the cancer cells. So, targeted therapy is used to inhibit the growth and spread of the cancer cells. Drugs like Lenalidomide, pomalidomide, and thalidomide are immunotherapy drugs used in targeted therapy. They are used for inhibiting the growth of myeloma cells by preventing the development of new blood vessels.

Bone Modifying Drugs

  • Bisphosphonates (Zoledronic acid, Pamidronate)
  • Denosumab  

Bone modifying drugs such as bisphosphonates are used in multiple myeloma treatment, in order to maintain the strength of the bone and alleviate bone pain. These drugs block osteoclasts, a type of cells responsible for breaking down bone tissues.

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