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Recent advancements in CAR-T cell therapies have shown encouraging results for patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. While the promise is high, barriers like manufacturing availability and socioeconomic disparities pose challenges to making these treatments widely accessible.

  • Two CAR-T cell therapies, idecabtagene vicleucel and ciltacabtagene autoleucel, have shown positive outcomes in patients with poor prognosis.
  • Barriers to accessing these therapies include manufacturing availability, financial costs, and racial and socioeconomic disparities.
  • More real-world data collection and expanded clinical trial eligibility are crucial to understanding the efficacy and safety of these treatments.

According to a recent article published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapies are providing a glimmer of hope for multiple myeloma (MM) patients, especially those with relapsed or refractory disease. While the prognosis for these patients remains poor, two CAR-T cell products targeting B cell maturation antigen (BCMA), idecabtagene vicleucel (ide-cel) and ciltacabtagene autoleucel (cilta-cel), have demonstrated significant clinical outcomes.

Advancements and Challenges in CAR-T Cell Therapies

Ide-cel and cilta-cel have shown impressive results, with high response rates and prolonged survival in this high-risk patient population. However, certain hurdles remain before these treatments can be widely available. These include limited CAR-T-cell manufacturing capacity, access to administering centers, financial cost, availability of caregivers, and socioeconomic and racial disparities.

Addressing Socioeconomic and Racial Disparities

Studies show that access to CAR-T-cell therapy is particularly limited for minority and low-income patients. African American patients, who represent approximately 20% of new myeloma cases, constitute only 1% of patients who received CAR-T-cell treatment in clinical trials. In order to expand access to CAR-T therapy, it is essential to address these disparities through structural changes in the healthcare system and improved patient support.

Expanding Access and Opportunities

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Despite these challenges, the success of CAR-T cell therapies in treating multiple myeloma has opened up new avenues in patient care. As researchers, clinicians, and manufacturers collaborate to address the current barriers, there is a need to expand clinical trial eligibility and gather real-world data to understand the efficacy and safety of these promising treatments. For healthcare providers, keeping abreast of these advancements and understanding the potential of CAR-T therapies could significantly impact their approach to treating multiple myeloma.


Hosoya, H., Rodriguez-Otero, P., Sidana, S., & Borrello, I. M. (2023). Embracing Myeloma Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T: From Scientific Design to Clinical Impact. American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book, 43. https://doi.org/10.1200/edbk_389860