It is an insidious neoplasm, the one with which the musician Giovanni Allevi lives, who after a long stop for treatment has returned to play from the Sanremo stage, acting as spokesperson for those who live with the disease.
Multiple myeloma is a tumor that affects a particular type of bone marrow cells, plasma cells, causing damage to various organs and tissues and often, in the initial stages, presents with non-specific symptoms such as tiredness and bone pain.
“Excruciating back pain – he said – didn’t allow me to get up from the stool after a show”. It can also be accompanied by fractures, renal failure and, in the more advanced stages, causes a weakening of the immune defenses, anemia or defects in the ability to stop bleeding.
According to data released by the Airc, national estimates speak of just over 2,700 new cases of myeloma every year among women and around 3,000 among men. The disease mainly affects older people: 38 percent of diagnoses concern people over the age of 70 and only 2 percent of individuals under the age of 40. For those who need treatment, the therapy is personalized: in some cases a stem cell transplant is envisaged, for those who are not suitable, a combination therapy between chemotherapy drugs and biological drugs is performed.
Over the last decade, the survival of patients with multiple myeloma has significantly improved thanks to new therapies, including proteasome inhibitors, monoclonal and bispecific antibodies. The new CAR-T therapies that recognize the BCMA antigen now being tested for multiple myeloma have achieved good results in the treatment of the relapsed/refractory form.
“However, it would be necessary,” he says Claudio Cerchione, hematologist at the Irccs Romagnolo Institute for the Study of Tumors ‘Dino Amadori’ – a national registry of this pathology because the numbers are most likely underestimated. Research into this pathology has made giant strides in the last decade, in which we have moved from chemotherapies with the aim of containing symptoms to immunotherapy which allows treatments to become chronic”. “Chronicisation”, he explains, “must not seem something negative, but it constitutes the achievement of having made what was previously a lethal pathology controllable with chemotherapy-free treatments.
“The objective – underlines the expert – is becoming more and more ambitious: to characterize the biology of the disease, with increasingly personalized treatments that allow the optimization of the available drugs and combinations, and the profound response with the achievement of MRD (minimal residual disease) of negativity. Even for patients who do not respond or lose response, refractoriness or relapse, today there are innovative drugs that offer notable efficacy rates with excellent tolerability.”
Furthermore, “drugs with innovative mechanisms of action are also arriving in Italy and “let’s not forget CAR-Ts, currently not available in our country, and with very encouraging data although at the moment in patients who have failed conventional therapies: they are ongoing studies are exploring their positioning in previous lines of therapy and are also comparing them with autologous transplant. Therefore, the best wish we can give to our patients and their families is that, thanks to the continuous and fruitful progress of research, in the not too distant future we will be able to definitively eradicate multiple myeloma.”
breaking latest news © Copyright ANSA