Myeloma (sometimes called multiple myeloma) is a cancer affecting a type of white blood cell called B-cells that normally produce antibodies to fight off infection and disease. In myeloma, these cells divide rapidly but do not produce normal antibodies, which weakens the immune system. Instead, they produce dysfunctional antibodies that can cause kidney damage, among other complications.

Myeloma cells are produced in the bone marrow like normal blood cells, and can travel through the bloodstream and accumulate elsewhere in the body.

What are proteasome inhibitors?

Proteasomes are protein complexes in the cell that are responsible for breaking down proteins and recycling their components. Because cancer cells divide so quickly and produce so much protein, proteasomes have to work overtime to keep the cell functioning.

Proteasome inhibitors target cancer cells by blocking the breakdown of proteins by the proteasome. Without functioning proteasomes, waste proteins build up within these cells, poisoning them and causing them to die.

Proteasome inhibitors to treat myeloma

Three proteasome inhibitors are approved to treat myeloma: Velcade (bortezomib), Kyprolis (carfilzomib), and Ninlaro (ixazomib).

Velcade is approved to treat myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma (another type of cancer affecting immune cells). It was initially developed by Myogenics, and brought to clinical trials by Millennium Pharmaceuticals, which was later acquired by Takeda.

Kyprolis is approved to treat refractory myeloma — myeloma that has not responded to two or more other treatments. It was initially licensed to Proteolix, which was acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals in 2009. Subsequently, Onyx was bought by Amgen.

Ninlaro was developed by Takeda and is used to treat myeloma in combination with Revlimid (lenalidomide) and dexamethasone in patients who have received at least one prior treatment for their multiple myeloma. Ninlaro is an oral medication that can be taken at home.

Experimental proteasome inhibitors

Several experimental proteasome inhibitors are currently under development.

Oprozomib (an oral next-generation carfilzomib) is being developed by Amgen. Marizomib is also under development by Triphase Accelerator.

 

Last updated: Nov. 5, 2019

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Myeloma Research News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
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