Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer, specifically a cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of immune cell that make antibodies to fight disease and infection. Multiple myeloma causes genetic changes to your immune cells that transform them from healthy cells into malignant (cancerous) myeloma cells. These cancerous cells typically bind to a person’s bone marrow and can cause bone pain. Multiple myeloma is a progressive disease, meaning it worsens over time. Other common symptoms of multiple myeloma include: fatigue, bone fracture, susceptibility to infection, and kidney failure.

Multiple Myeloma Biobank Study

The IU Precision Health Initiative’s multiple myeloma research team recently opened the Indiana Multiple Myeloma Biobank Study, which is currently enrolling 1,000 multiple myeloma patients across Indiana who are willing to donate bio specimens, such as blood and saliva, and complete a questionnaire. The goal of the study is to evaluate patients’ clinical, genomic and environmental data to advance clinical trials aimed at developing what could eventually be considered a cure.

Screening Bariatric Surgery Patients for MGUS

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval has also been secured for a clinical study aimed at screening patients awaiting bariatric surgery for the presence of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), a protein known to progress to multiple myeloma in certain cases. This study will investigate the incidence of MGUS in an obese population to see whether weight loss following weight-reduction surgery has an effect on the protein. This study will contribute to knowledge about MGUS and the prevention of multiple myeloma.

Treatment for Late-Stage Relapsed or Refractory Multiple Myeloma

IU School of Medicine was recently selected as a participating site in a Phase III clinical trial of CAR T-cell therapy versus a monoclonal antibody in late-stage relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma patients. Clinical trials such as this seek to identify the most effective therapies and potential cures available.

Team Leadership

The multiple myeloma team is led by IU School of Medicine’s Rafat Abonour, MD.

Rafat Abonour, MD

Rafat Abonour, MD

Harry and Edith Gladstein Professor of Cancer Research