Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer affecting plasma cells—white blood cells that are a crucial part of the immune system and responsible for the production of antibodies. About 2,100 new cases of multiple myeloma are diagnosed each year in Canada. In the past ten years, a number of new and effective drugs have been approved and are extending the survival of patients to an average of five years, but multiple myeloma is still incurable.

The Princess Margaret is one of the top 5 multiple myeloma research centres worldwide, and one of four founding institutions of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium along with Harvard, the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.

Thanks to the personal generosity of David Bloom, a myeloma patient himself, financial support from two pharmaceutical companies, Celgene and Ortho Biotech, and the dedicated fundraising efforts of the 5K Multiple Myeloma Team, the hospital has received funding needed to establish a Chair position dedicated to leading multiple myeloma research. In 2010, this Chair was awarded to Dr. Donna Reece, the Director of PMH’s Multiple Myeloma Program and an international expert in the disease.

The strong myeloma clinical team, led by Dr. Donna Reece, works in close collaboration with a dedicated laboratory research team led by Dr. Suzanne Trudel to ensure that more promising new cancer drugs will be tested and moved as quickly as possible from the laboratory to patients. Better screening and tests for early detection of multiple myeloma are also a priority.