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In our larger bones we have bone marrow, the area in the center of each bone where white cells, red cells, and platelets grow. Multiple myeloma occurs when one type of white blood cell, a plasma cell, reproduces without stopping and causes damage to other organs. In most patients, myeloma is found in more than one location and is called multiple myeloma. Normally these cells would create a wide variety of antibodies to support our immune system; instead the cancerous plasma cells take up more and more room in the bone marrow cavity, which leaves less and less room for normal marrow cells.
Instead of millions of different antibodies that can effectively protect the patient from infection, myeloma cells make only one type of antibody and thus leave the patient vulnerable. These myeloma cells can also push their way into the hard outer layer, the cortex, of bones and this can make those bones particularly prone to break. In fact many people realize they have multiple myeloma when they break a bone from minimal activity such as bumping into something or picking up a gallon of milk.
Additionally, myeloma cells can make so many antibodies or misshapen antibodies that they clog the kidney’s filtration system and can cause permanent kidney damage that, left untreated, can lead a patient to dialysis.

Information and Resources from a Multiple Myeloma Expert
YouTube Myeloma 101 - The Basics
YouTube Myeloma 101 - Monoclonal Proteins and Light Chains
YouTube Myeloma 101 - Clinical Trials
YouTube The Ohio Myeloma Initiative
YouTube Myeloma 101 - Paying for Care
Craig Hofmeister, MD   Craig Hofmeister

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Myeloma Section Chief, The Ohio State University

How common is
Multiple Myeloma?
Approximately 60,000 people in the United States have multiple myeloma and more than 25,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Unfortunately multiple myeloma is currently incurable. The average survival from diagnosis is approximately 4-10 years.

What treatments are
currently available?
In the last decade there has been an explosion of new therapies for myeloma, including novel immunomodulatory agents such as such as Thalidomide and Lenalidomide (Revlimid™) as well as drugs such as Bortezomib (Velcade™) that attack “housekeeping” processes in cancer cells. There are now 40 agents being tested in myeloma and over a hundred active clinical trials. Intravenous medications to decrease the risk of fractures in myeloma patients are given on a monthly basis, but because of a variety of side effects, ongoing clinical trials are focused on limiting patient exposure to these medications while maximizing effectiveness.
  Improvements in survival occur by bringing new drugs or treatment strategies to the clinic. The essence of a clinical trial is testing something new in hopes of improving treatment effectiveness with fewer side effects. Clinical trials at large academic myeloma centers such as The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center represent cutting edge therapies. Myeloma clinical trials are often available at multiple institutions and run by groups such as the Eastern Cooperative Group (ECOG), Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), and the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC).

What happens to people who learn they have multiple myeloma?
We accept the reality of our situation. We research the treatments available to us, and carefully consider the options. We fight... with the assistance of skilled medical professionals and the support of our loved ones. We survive... with gratitude and enthusiam. We thrive, we love, we succeed, and we treasure every day. Sarah's Story
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Details MMORE exists to educate patients and their loved ones, and to support research to find cures. Please visit our Research Updates page for recent articles published by some of the top medical professionals in the field.

For more information, visit these related websites:
Website The Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
(The James)
Website Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch)
Website Mayo Clinic
Website Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University
Website International Myeloma Foundation (IMF)
Website The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
Website Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
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