"This is an exciting drug because most of the therapies we currently have to offer multiple myeloma patients come with some pretty unpleasant side effects. Revimid is potent with less toxicity, and it is an oral drug, making it easier to administer than injectable drugs," says Seema Singhal, M.D., director of the multiple myeloma program at Northwestern Memorial and professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University, who is leading the trials at NMH.
Revimid is a derivative of thalidomide and belongs to a new class of drugs called IMiDs, or immunomodulatory drugs, which are drugs that modify or regulate the functioning of the immune system. IMiDs appear to have multiple actions, including the ability to stimulate the immune system to attack myeloma cells and inhibit the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) that feed the "liquid tumor."
"Multiple myeloma is incurable, but patients can have prolonged disease control using sequential therapies as needed," says Dr. Singhal. "The challenge is that the disease can become resistant to therapies that were previously effective, creating a great need for newer options that the patients can move on to." Dr. Singhal, who sees about 10 to 20 new multiple myeloma patients per month, says Revimid recently earned a FAST Track Designation from the FDA. "This means Revimid may be widely available to all patients with multiple myeloma within the next year or so."
Multiple myeloma strikes about 14,600 people in the United States each year. Patients with myeloma used to survive on average about three years. But with recent new therapies, life expectancy has i
Contact: Amanda Widtfeldt
Northwestern Memorial Hospital