A new therapeutic approach tested by a team from Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSSS-EST, Montreal) and the University of Montreal gives promising results for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow currently considered incurable with conventional chemotherapy and for which the average life expectancy is about 6 or 7 years. The study was lead be Dr. Jean Roy, a haematologist at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and professor at the University of Montreal, between 2001 and 2010 with 92 newly diagnosed patients.
Using an approach developed at Maisonneuve-Rosemont, consisting of an autograft to reduce tumour mass followed by a family allograft three to four months later to clean the bone marrow of myeloma cells with immune cells from a family donor (immunotherapy), the study resulted in a total cure rate of 41%, a record level using this strategy. Moreover, patients in complete remission six months after the allograft had a relapse-free survival rate of 60%. Overall, the autograft strategy followed by allograft resulted in relapse-free survival rates of 20-25% in the long term.
Moreover, in the same study, the mortality rate associated with this treatment over ten years was 10%, an extremely low rate following a family donor allograft. And while 50% of patients experienced a relapse of their myeloma, the subsequent treatment showed marked efficacy: 50% of these patients were alive five years after the relapse.
Based on these results, a new study aiming to reduce rates of relapse and complications is currently underway at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, with still preliminary but very encouraging results. The study was supported by the University of Montreal's William Brock Fund.