The therapeutic field: Multiple Myeloma and potential other indications
Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they displace and suppress healthy blood progenitor cell populations. Multiple myeloma is also characterized by destructive lytic bone lesions (rounded, punched-out areas of bone), diffuse osteoporosis, bone pain, and the production of abnormal proteins, which accumulate in the urine. Anemia is also present in most multiple myeloma patients at the time of diagnosis and during follow-up. Anemia in multiple myeloma is multifactorial, and is secondary to bone marrow replacement by malignant plasma cells, chronic inflammation, relative erythropoietin deficiency, and vitamin deficiency.
There is currently no standard multiple myeloma treatment. A patient’s individual treatment plan is based on such factors as age and general health, results of laboratory and cytogenetic (genomic) tests, symptoms and disease complications, prior myeloma treatment, patient’s lifestyle, goals, views on quality of life, and personal preferences. In addition, many cancer centers have developed their own guidelines for treating myeloma.
The introduction of CD38 monoclonal antibodies to the treatment landscape of multiple myeloma, highlighted by the approval of daratumumab, might be transformative. Based on their distinct mechanisms of action, generally favorable toxicity profile, and single agent activity, CD38 antibodies are considered attractive partners in combination regimens.
Beyond multiple myeloma, scientific research suggests that an anti-CD38 antibody such as potentially MOR202 may have therapeutic activity in other diseases associated with plasma cells.