The Impact of Immunotherapy on Multiple Myeloma

In this issue of CURE, we examine the science behind bispecific antibodies such as Tecvayli (teclistamab-cqyv) — how they work and the impact they have had on patients with multiple myeloma.

Those patients include Cindy Brown, who in 2020 joined a clinical trial at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles for Tecvayli, an immunotherapy drug that targets a protein called B-cell maturation antigen, or BCMA, found specifically on multiple myeloma cells. Tecvayli activates a patient’s immune system by binding to the CD3 receptor on T cells and the BCMA protein on myeloma cells. Bispecific antibodies act as a bridge and can bring cells or proteins on the cell membrane together to facilitate certain processes like triggering the immune system.

Therapies such as Tecvayli offer providers a targeted approach, honing in on cancer cells while sparing healthy tissues with the goals of fewer side effects and better outcomes for patients. With the FDA approval of Tecvayli and other BCMA-targeted therapies like Elrexfio (elranatamab-bcmm), a new era in multiple myeloma treatment has arrived.

However, questions persist regarding the optimal timing and sequencing of these therapies, as well as potential mechanisms of resistance and long-term management strategies. Ongoing research continues to examine these complexities, pointing the way toward potential future breakthroughs and treatment options.

More CURE® coverage on multiple myeloma:

Newer technologies can speed up innovations needed to refine this approach, and the next generation of drugs are likely to be even more powerful and applicable to a growing list of cancer types.

Cindy’s story is illustrative of the impact that immunotherapy has had in transforming the lives of patients with cancer.

“It’s been remarkable for me in terms of success. It’s super well-tolerated,” Brown says. “If you met me and didn’t know who I was, you would have no idea I was sick.”

Debu Tripathy, M.D.


Professor of Medicine Chair, Department of Breast Medical Oncology

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

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