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Latest FDA Approval in Multiple Myeloma May Reduce Treatment Costs, Frequency and Side Effects

The FDA’s approval of a less frequent treatment regimen in patients with multiple myeloma highlights a trend of making treatments easier for blood cancer patients to tolerate.  

Rye Brook, N.Y., February 23, 2024 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved less frequent dosing of teclistamab-cqyv (Tecvayli®) for certain patients with multiple myeloma. This approval reduces the frequency of treatment from once a week to once every two weeks in patients whose multiple myeloma has been stable for at least six months.  

“The less frequent treatment regimen is a major win for patients,” says The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Chief Scientific Officer Lee Greenberger, Ph.D. “Patients eligible for this less frequent dosing will have more flexibility in their day-to-day lives, less costs associated with treatment, and, we hope, less side effects all while maintaining treatment efficacy.” 

Teclistamab activates a patient’s own immune system to attack their cancer. It targets a protein on immune system T cells called CD3 and a protein on myeloma cells called BCMA. The treatment activates the T cells to recognize and attack the myeloma cells. 

Making blood cancer treatments easier for patients is a major LLS goal 

The main goal of blood cancer treatment is to kill the cancerous cells and extend a patient’s life. However, historically, blood cancer treatments may also damage healthy cells which may cause life-changing side effects.  

The shift toward precision medicines and immunotherapies (teclistamab is both) designed to target cancer cells while sparing healthy ones is giving more blood cancer patients new options to control their cancer and maintain a better quality of life. 

Among current efforts spearheaded and supported by LLS is a new substudy in our Beat AML® Master Clinical Trial to analyze if a 14-day cycle of venetoclax and azacitidine, followed by a 14-day break, leads to a similar complete remission rate in patients 60 and older with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as the currently FDA-approved two 28-day cycles in a back-to-back sequence can be too toxic for older patients. 

LLS is also supporting a clinical trial at Montefiore Medical Center in New York to evaluate if a once-weekly dose of venetoclax along with a once-weekly dose of decitabine (which has a similar action compared to azacitidine) in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndromes is safe and effective.  

“The FDA’s recent approval, as well as these two studies, are perfect examples of a shift toward making treatments easier for patients to tolerate,” said Dr. Greenberger. “Not only do we want to give patients more birthdays, but we want them to have a better quality of life to celebrate.”  

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