CAR T-Cell Therapy for Multiple Myeloma
Moffitt Cancer Center—the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida—is pleased to offer CAR T-cell therapy to treat multiple myeloma, a malignancy that develops in the plasma cells within bone marrow. Moffitt is among a select few cancer centers that are certified to administer CAR-T cell therapy, as this is not a standard treatment available at other facilities.
Moffitt is one of the global leaders in the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma with CAR T-cell therapy. We have developed extensive experience in the care and management of patients with myeloma and apply a multispecialty and holistic approach to every patient.
What is CAR T-cell therapy?
Chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR T-cell therapy) is a type of immunotherapy that uses a patient’s own immune system to find and destroy cancerous cells. T lymphocytes (T cells) are a type of white blood cell that normally identify and/or destroy noncancerous foreign invaders, including bacteria and viruses. CAR T-cell therapy involves genetically modifying T-cells to recognize the unique proteins that are found on the surface of cancerous cells and then destroy those cells.
To perform CAR T-cell therapy, a medical provider uses an IV to withdraw some of the patient's blood, removes the T cells from the blood and then returns the remaining blood to the patient’s body (a process known as “leukapheresis”). The T cells are then genetically modified so that their surface includes chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), which enable the T cells to bind onto the proteins found on cancerous cells. After being multiplied over the course of several weeks, the CAR T cells are then reintroduced into the patient’s blood.
FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy for multiple myeloma
CAR T-cell therapy is one of the newest treatments for multiple myeloma, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) having recently approved two therapies that target the B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) protein found on myeloma cells:
- In March 2021, the FDA approved idecabtagene vicleucel (Abecma) for individuals with multiple myeloma that either hasn’t responded to or has returned after at least four different prior cancer treatments.
- In February 2022, the FDA approved ciltacabtagene autoleucel (Carvykti) for adults with multiple myeloma that either isn’t responding to treatment or has returned after receiving at least four lines of cancer therapy.
- The approvals require that patients have been exposed to the three major classes of therapies for myeloma:
- immunomodulatory agents, (including lenalidomide, pomalidomide and thalidomide)
- proteosome inhibitors (bortezomib, carfilzomib and ixazomib)
- anti-CD38+ monoclonal antibody (daratumumab or isatuximab)
In addition to the FDA-approved products, Moffitt also has a large number of clinical trials involving CAR-T cells and other novel treatments involving the immune system, which can include their use in earlier lines of therapy.
Possible CAR T-cell therapy side effects
As with almost any form of cancer treatment, CAR T-cell therapy for multiple myeloma poses a risk of certain complications, including:
- Allergic reactions
- Cytokine release syndrome
- Nervous system problems
- Reduced blood cell counts
- Weakening of the immune system
With this in mind, it's important that patients entrust their care to cancer specialists with extensive experience using CAR T-cell treatment for multiple myeloma, such as those at Moffitt Cancer Center.
Choose Moffitt for multiple myeloma treatment
If you've received a multiple myeloma diagnosis or are experiencing symptoms of the malignancy—possibly including bone pain, fatigue, weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation, unintended weight loss, excessive thirst or frequent infections—it’s important to act quickly. Fortunately, you can count on the specialists at Moffitt Cancer Center to provide you with a first-rate diagnostic and treatment experience. In addition, to help make cancer treatment at Moffitt as accessible as possible, we have partnered with hotels near our cancer center to offer discounted rates.
If it turns out that you have multiple myeloma, we will develop a highly individualized treatment plan that’s customized to your specific needs. In addition to CAR T-cell therapy, we offer numerous other treatment options for multiple myeloma—including bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy and radiation therapy—and we will determine which approach is most appropriate for your condition. It has been shown that myeloma patients who receive input on their treatment plan from high-volume centers such as Moffitt have improved outcomes including improved overall survival.
Contact Moffitt Cancer Center today to get started with multiple myeloma diagnostic tests and, if necessary, treatment. You can get in touch by calling us at 1-888-663-3488 or filling out our new patient registration form online — no referral is needed.
We understand how stressful it feels when you’ve already been diagnosed with cancer or are waiting on your test results, but you can rest assured that we’ll put you in contact with a cancer expert as soon as possible.
Medically reviewed by Ciara Freeman, MD, PhD
American Cancer Society: CAR T-Cell Therapy for Multiple Myeloma
National Cancer Institute: Carvykti Approval Marks Second CAR T-Cell Therapy for Multiple Myeloma
National Cancer Institute: FDA Approves BCMA-Targeted CAR T-Cell Therapy for Multiple Myeloma