Future myeloma treatments…

A MMA list member recently posted an item from the CancerCare bulletin titled “the latest in multiple myeloma research,” which lists a series of different conventional drugs and their anti-myeloma activity. I went down the list, did a wee bit of research and made a discovery…not a very startling one, come to think of it…but anyway, here goes:

  1. Monoclonal antibodies. Often compared to guided missiles, monoclonal antibodies zero in on cancer cells whose surfaces have a “target molecule.” For example, the combination of lenalidomide with a monoclonal antibody called elotuzumab holds promise in treating multiple myeloma that comes back after traditional treatments.
  2. Growth blockers. These drugs are designed to block the growth of myeloma cells by depriving them of substances they need, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). When tumor cells spread through the body, they release VEGF to create new blood vessels. These blood vessels supply oxygen, minerals, and other nutrients to feed the tumor.
  3. Proteasome inhibitors. Bortezomib was the first in its class of proteasome inhibitors. Another promising drug, called carfilzomib, appears to work the same way as bortezomib.
  4. Immunomodulators. A new form of the drug thalidomide is showing promise in people whose multiple myeloma has returned after previous treatment. Called pomalidomide (Actimid), this medication stops the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors. It also boosts the immune system and may kill cancer cells directly.
  5. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors. This class of drugs works by killing cancer cells or stopping their growth. Two HDAC inhibitors, vorinostat (Zolinza) and panobinostat, have been combined with bortezomib. This combination has been shown to be effective in many people whose tumors resist treatment with bortezomib alone.
  6. Akt inhibitors. These drugs aim to disrupt cancer cell membranes and block the actions of proteins involved in cancer growth. An Akt inhibitor called perifosine holds promise as a treatment for multiple myeloma, when combined with bortezomib.
  7. Heat shock protein-90 (Hsp90) inhibitors. Heat shock proteins are key players in a number of processes that cancer cells use to survive and grow. Multiple myeloma cells contain more of a heat shock protein, called Hsp90, than normal cells. Two drugs—alvespimycin and tanespimycin—block the actions of Hsp90. Research suggests that combining these drugs with bortezomib may be more effective than treatment with bortezomib alone.
  8. mTOR inhibitors. This class of drugs blocks a mechanism called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, which promotes tumor growth. Preliminary research suggests that combining lenalidomide with an mTOR inhibitor called everolimus (Afinitor) may stall the growth of multiple myeloma.
  9. Cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors. CDK inhibitors, such as the drug flavopiridol, block proteins that promote the growth of multiple myeloma cells.
  10. Telomerase inhibitors. One drug, known as imetelstat, blocks an important enzyme found to be active in myeloma cells. This enzyme allows cancer cells to resist chemotherapy.
  11. RANK ligand inhibitors. This new class of drugs works differently from other types of drugs that treat bone complications. They are designed to block a factor in bone development known as RANK ligand. RANK ligand stimulates cells that break bone down. By blocking RANK ligand, RANK ligand inhibitors may increase bone density and strength. Denosumab (Xgeva) is being tested in people with multiple myeloma for the treatment of bone complications. The FDA has recently approved denosumab to help prevent bone fractures and bone pain in non-myeloma patients whose cancer has spread (metastasized) and damaged the bone.

Now, with the exception of item #1 (=monoclonal antibodies), the myeloma targets mentioned in the remaining 10 items on this list are inhibited, all of them!!!!!, by something that many of us already take….a non-toxic something that inhibits VEGF, HDAC, mTOR, Akt, blablabla…all the way down to RANKL, the final item. Can you guess what the “something” might be? 🙂

And there is more.

Just this morning I read a newly published “Blood” abstract (yes, I am finally able to read an abstract without falling asleep… 😉 ): http://goo.gl/MMFMp It mentions a new myeloma target (I think I’ve seen this one before, but I don’t have the energy to check right now…) called “glycogen synthetase kinase-3 beta” (GSK3beta).

Well, the above-mentioned, not-so-mysterious-after-all substance happens to inhibit GSK3beta, too. Have you guessed yet? 😉

This is bloody ridiculous. And frustrating. I mean, how much more proof will we need to provide before our official myeloma organizations begin taking notice of non-toxic, anti-myeloma substances…substances that can target myeloma via multiple pathways, which is the only way a cure for myeloma will ever be found???

Let me give you this image: if you hit a tumor with only one missile, its chances of surviving the strike are high, very high indeed. But if you hit the tumor in different areas and with many different types of missiles, you stand a good chance of annihilating it…

It all boils down to plain common sense…

So I ask my question once again: how much more proof do we need in order for some money to be poured into non-toxic research? I am sick and tired of hearing about denosumab (see my posts on this topic) and conventional treatments that are really, or potentially, toxic…really sick and tired…

Basta, I say!!!


  1. Thank you Margaret. The depth of your research should impress those with PHDs working at major clinics. I know MD Anderson is listening and their upcoming trial with lenalidomide and curcumin promises to be interesting. Keep it up!

  2. There are a couple of new advances to help treat/prevent graft vs host disease with stem cell transplant, and another one that might help boost the immune response to myeloma, can’t recall the name but read it on sciencedaily the other day.

    Good lit review. It is heartening for those who may be “failing” the formerly-latest round of new treatments like Velcade and Revlimid, etc.

    And I feel like the curcumin battle is much like the global climate change battle in the US – overwhelming evidence isn’t enough when it means the powers that be won’t be able to make money the same way they always have. Thank goodness no US companies have decided to try to ban curcumin or patent and stop its production. They do that sometimes.

  3. I second that, Margaret. Maybe we need to do some more publicity of your research? Maybe we should be sending letters like this to the orgs, with your wonderful lit review. Let me know if I can help at all.

  4. Hey, Jessica, I really like the idea of initiating a letter-writing (to our MM organizations) campaign. I mean, if enough of us write letters, especially those of us who have positive stories to tell (not just about curcumin but other supplements, too), we might just make a difference, at least a slight one.
    We should perhaps brainstorm a bit about this…

  5. I don’t want to be the wet blanket on this subject, but the money and the profit that is made daily on cancer is huge. Unless curcumin can be processed into this giant maw of finance to show how it will be profitable, there is little chance it will be considered. And there is another risk… if the Powers That Be find that curcumin IS really beneficial, like some other natural products are for other situations, there is a real risk it will be outlawed. I’m just sayin’…

  6. Hello, my name is Nicola and I’m writing from Italy.
    I was diagnosed in 6/2010 with a myeloma (stage III-B), but now after treatment and SCT I’m in complete remission.
    I called yesterday dr. Balducci to buy the tablets of C3-complex, and I will follow your protocol as maintenance therapy.
    Thanks for everything, and keep smiling!
    Ciao, mi chiamo Nicola, scrivo anche in Italiano perché è decisamente meglio del mio inglese…
    Mi è stato diagnosticato a giugno del 2010 un mieloma allo stadio III-B, però ora dopo le cure e un autotrapianto sono in remissione completa.
    Ho telefonato proprio ieri al dott. Balducci per acquistare le compresse cui tu fai riferimento, e seguirò il tuo protocollo come terapia di mantenimento.
    Grazie di tutto, e incrociamo tutti le dita!

  7. Maybe we can create together a fact sheet: one A4 with the main arguments (a summary of the key study) why supplements as Curcuma can give a important contribution on to stability and quality of life (a summary of your blog is a chore!)

    It is sometimes difficult for a patient to inform (and hopefully to convince) a doctor in a few minutes about for example turmeric.

    (I hope the translation is stille correct. It looks like English, I hope?).

    thank you for your studies 🙂


  8. Let me know if you need help. You know I’m always there.

    I’m sure the money machines will figure out how to make money on the solution. Whether it is to charge for the delivery mechanism, or patent the compound that improves absorption, or whatever. I don’t care. They can make money.

    We just need non-toxic solutions to avoid and destroy cancer.

    I’m there for you if you need help or support editing or posting stuff online.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *