Niels van de Donk’s comprehensive review on the current state and new developments in the diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma was published under the section ‘The Lancet Seminars’ on January 30. Professor Van de Donk is associated with the Department of Hematology, Cancer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC. His work is focused on providing the best treatment for patients with multiple myeloma and related disorders, and to develop new effective therapies against multiple myeloma by applying targeted drugs and novel immunotherapy approaches.
Multiple myeloma develops from a type of white blood cell, the plasma cell, and is the second common hematological malignancy affecting about 5 in 100,000 people every year. The malignant plasma cells accumulate at multiple locations in the bone marrow compromising blood cell formation and weakening bone structures. The cancer cells also excrete large quantities of antibodies leading to complications such as increased infections and renal disease.
Van de Donk and colleagues present a clear synopsis to understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms that drive this cancer and summarize the associated practical implications for clinical intervention and disease management. While multiple myeloma remains an incurable disease in the majority of patients, the introduction of several new drugs has markedly improved outcome. Current research strategies to improve survival include the use of minimal residual disease assays to guide therapy, refining immunotherapeutic approaches, and intercepting disease early in smoldering multiple myeloma.
For more information, see: Van de Donk, N.W.C.J., Pawlyn, C., Yong, K.L. (2021) Multiple myeloma. Lancet 397(10272):410-427.