Overview of The Myeloma Program

The Myeloma Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides specialized care and support for people diagnosed with multiple myeloma and other plasma cell disorders. Our team is experienced in diagnosing and treating a range of different types of plasma call disorders, including amyloidosis, multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy, and others.

As multiple myeloma can affect numerous organs, our highly skilled team includes multidisciplinary specialists to treat every aspect of the disease. The Multiple Myeloma Program team supports the care of both outpatients and inpatients at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. 

Why Choose Us?  

We offer every patient a dedicated team of medical experts to support them, and their family, throughout their cancer journey. The multidisciplinary team meets daily to discuss each patient’s needs, their progress and to decide the best treatment plan. This approach offers the greatest chance of disease remission and a long and healthy life.

What We Treat 

Multiple Myeloma is a cancer which begins in a plasma cell, a type of disease-fighting white blood cell, that usually produces antibodies to help you fight infections. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells collect in the bone marrow and produce proteins rather than antibodies, which causes complications. 

The Multiple Myeloma Program treats a range of myelomas, and other plasma cell disorders including:

  • Multiple Myeloma: The most common type of myeloma, which involves multiple organs of the body.
  • Smoldering Multiple Myeloma: A form of the disease that progresses more slowly, often with no symptoms.
  • Plasmacytoma: An accumulation of plasma cells in the bones, skin, muscles or lungs.
  • AL Amyloidosis: A build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues in the body causing organ disfunction. 
  • Monoclonal Gammopathy: Abnormal secretions of plasma proteins in the blood.

Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors 

Cancerous plasma cells produce abnormal proteins which cause tissue damage. The signs and symptoms can vary and sometimes, early on, there may be none. 

If they do occur, the symptoms can include: 

  • Calcium elevation 
  • Renal insufficiency 
  • Anemia 
  • Bone abnormalities 
  • Bone pain and/or skeletal fractures 
  • Fatigue and weakness 
  • Frequent infections (caused by a weak immune system).

Always see your doctor if you notice any ongoing signs or symptoms that you are worried about. 

Doctors aren’t sure what causes multiple myeloma, but they know that it begins with an abnormal plasma cell within your bone marrow. Over time, they accumulate and produce abnormal antibodies, (called monoclonal proteins, or M proteins) which the body can’t use, leading to problems such as damage to the bones or kidneys. 

Multiple myeloma usually begins as a condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). This is marked by the presence of M proteins, but in MGUS they do not cause damage to the body. 

Other risk factors can include:

  • Age: Risk increases in those over 50.
  • Gender: Men are more at risk. 
  • Race: People with black skin are more at risk. 
  • Obesity: Being overweight can increase risk. 
  • Chronic Immunodeficiency. 
  • Inflammatory Diseases: Conditions such as cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes may increase risk. 

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma 

Multiple Myeloma is often diagnosed when a blood test is done for another medical complaint. It can also be detected if you present with some of the common signs and symptoms. Diagnosing multiple myeloma and determining which stage the disease is at, may involve the following tests and procedures:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests 
  • Bone marrow biopsies
  • Tissue biopsies
  • Imaging scans, including:

o CT scan

o MRI scan

o PET scan

o X-ray

o Ultrasound

Treatment of Multiple Myeloma 

After a diagnosis has been given, the team will decide on the most effective treatment plan, based on several factors including your age, the type of cancer you have, how advanced the cancer is, as well as other factors. Treatment might include: 

  • Immune therapy: The use of monoclonal antibodies or immunomodulators to target the cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy: Using new drugs to target specific mutation on cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: The use of anticancer drugs, sometimes in combination, to stop the growth of cancer cells. 
  • Stem cell transplantation: Infusing healthy blood-forming stem cells, collected from the bone marrow, circulating blood or umbilical cord blood, into the body.
  • Cellular therapy: Using modified immune cells to fight cancer.
  • Radiation therapy: Given to destroy cancer cells or to relieve pain or discomfort. 

Prevention & Screening

Doctors believe that very few cases of myeloma are linked to risk factors that can be avoided, meaning there is little you can do to prevent the disease developing. However, being aware of the symptoms may be helpful. 

Following a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise can reduce your chances of developing many types of cancer.

Department/Program Caregivers 

As multiple myeloma can affect many organs of the body, our Multiple Myeloma Program consists of a multidisciplinary team of specialists working together to treat all aspects of the disease. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program include:

  • Consultant physicians in hematology and oncology
  • Pharmacists
  • Nurses
  • Pathologists
  • Radiologists
  • Radiation therapists
  • Social workers
  • Case managers
  • Physical therapists
  • Infectious diseases specialists
  • Cardiologists
  • Nephrologists
  • Patient coordinators
  • Patient educators.

Meet the doctors who can help with Myeloma​​

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