The first line diagnosis for multiple myeloma is identifying an excess of M-protein in the blood and elevated levels of plasma cells in the bone marrow with a blood test.
Confirmation and analysis of the disease is followed up by one of two invasive procedures, bone marrow aspiration or bone marrow biopsy. Both involve inserting large, long needles into the bone and drawing samples of the bone marrow.
There are approximately 32,000 new cases of multiple myeloma in the US per year, and it has a prevalence of approximately 140,000 cases at any one time. The five-year survival rate is 54%.
Patients typically build up resistance to combination therapies and have to switch multiple times over the course of the disease. Common symptoms include; bone pain, nausea, constipation, fatigue, weight loss and frequent infections.
There are currently no diagnostic or prognostic tests that accurately identify the high-risk SMM patients likely to transition to active multiple myeloma.
Industry is turning towards identifying patients in the high-risk category of SMM for earlier treatment to delay the onset of active multiple myeloma and its debilitating symptoms.