Myeloma Treatments

“There is no one treatment for myeloma. In other words, one size does not fit all. And here at City of Hope, we tailor treatments for each individual. This personalized medicine always offers the best options and outcomes for our patients.”
Amrita Krishnan, M.D., Director, judy and bernard briskin multiple myeloma center

How Is Myeloma Treated?

At City of Hope, our myeloma specialists are focused on finding the right combination of treatment options for you. Survival rates for myeloma have been climbing steadily, thanks to innovative new treatment options, some of which were developed in part at City of Hope. New drug therapies, such as daratumumab and ixazomib, are sometimes combined with other therapies or with bone marrow or stem cell transplants.  

Individualized Treatment

Each patient’s disease is distinct, so treatment plans at City of Hope are individualized and incorporate the newest combination therapies. For example, promising new immunotherapies are often combined with chemotherapy to increase the chances of effective treatment.

While we are experts in the entire spectrum of disease, City of Hope has extensive experience in treating patients who have high-risk or relapsed types of the disease and those who have undergone failed therapies.

Treatment Goals

Our treatments are designed with quality of life in mind. We keep drug toxicity to a minimum so that you can continue to work and live normally, and we tailor therapy to include medications, called bisphosphonates, to deal with common disease-related bone problems. The goals of myeloma treatment at City of Hope include:

  • Slowing down the disease progression.
  • Extending remission time.
  • Reducing symptoms.
  • Researching and developing curative therapies that may play a role in treatment.

The City of Hope Difference

City of Hope is one of the world's largest and most successful bone marrow and blood stem cell transplant centers. As a pioneer in creating breakthrough treatments for all hematologic cancers, including multiple myeloma and other blood-related disorders, we are also a world leader in setting standards for stem cell transplantation and in improving long-term outcomes for both children and adults.

We are the only U.S. cancer center to be ranked as an “overperforming” transplant center by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research Center for over a decade. Our transplant program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, the standard of excellence for blood and bone marrow transplant programs in the United States.

Our expertise also includes autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplants and using cells derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood and cord blood.

What Myeloma Doctors Will I See at My Appointment?

When you come to City of Hope for myeloma treatment, your cancer care team works together to find the best course of care for managing your disease. Their goal is to improve quality of life and help you control the progress of myeloma. This multidisciplinary team may include oncologists, radiologists, researchers, nurses and a wide range of support staff.

Single or Combination Drug Therapy for Myeloma

City of Hope’s approach to treating myeloma starts with a coordinated, multidisciplinary care team, comprising myeloma specialists, whose main goals are controlling your disease so that you can live longer and maintain an active life.

Treatment for myeloma and multiple myeloma is rapidly advancing, and with the approval of new agents, survival rates for myeloma patients are on the rise. As a comprehensive cancer center, City of Hope is at the forefront of that progress. We were involved in pivotal early trials of two drugs — daratumumab and ixazomib — that are now part of myeloma therapy worldwide.

Chemotherapy and Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation for Myeloma

Chemotherapy, a common treatment for myeloma, uses drugs to either kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. This approach usually is necessary to kill cancer cells circulating throughout the body. The most effective treatment for myeloma is high-dose chemotherapy combined with stem cell transplant. City of Hope is a true innovator in this area, with one of the largest and most successful transplantation programs in the world.

We have set the standard for stem cell transplantation and improving long-term outcomes. That’s why our Hematologic Malignancies Research Institute is considered an industry leader, with unparalleled survival rates, thanks to our innovative approaches to blood and bone marrow transplantation for myeloma. 

To address the growing need for high quality transplantation, City of Hope recently expanded its bone marrow transplantation program to include outpatient procedures, allowing patients to return home after treatment.

Autologous and Allogeneic Transplants 

The City of Hope bone marrow transplantation program offers greater autonomy for patients with multiple myeloma through providing autologous transplants, which use the patient’s own cells). We also offer allogeneic transplants, which use donor cells.

Exciting advances in chemotherapy at City of Hope — including combining targeted therapies, radiotherapies and immunotherapies with chemotherapy — are helping more patients to slow down the progression of their disease and improve quality of life.

Learn about our stem cell transplantation program

Radiation Therapy for Myeloma

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill plasma cells and shrink tumors. It is an effective treatment for myeloma and often is paired with other treatments. City of Hope offers advanced radiation treatments that are highly targeted to cancer cells while protecting the surrounding normal tissue.

One technique, TomoTherapy, includes delivering focused radiation to the entire bone marrow compartment. The technique, called total marrow irradiation, is an effective way to target cancer cells while reducing side effects.

Immunotherapy for Myeloma

Immunotherapy is a way of awakening the immune system to action against cancer cells. Immune cells patrol the body in search of disease, but cancer cells often devise ways to get around or suppress them. City of Hope is developing and testing drugs that can unleash dramatic and specific immune responses to cancer cells — or make them visible to the immune system.

City of Hope has virtually unrivaled expertise with immunotherapy — and was involved in pivotal early trials on drugs that are now a big part of myeloma therapy worldwide, including daratumumab. We are on the leading-edge of drug treatment for myeloma, and we have ongoing clinical trials aimed at identifying even more effective immunotherapy treatments, including exciting advances in CAR T cell therapy, check point inhibitors, bispecific antibodies and novel antibody-drug conjugates.