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Treatments for leukemia, lymphomas & multiple myeloma


There are three main categories of treatment for blood system cancers: chemotherapy, biological therapy and radiation therapy. 

  • Chemotherapy is given by vein or orally, attacks cancer cells in the body to prevent them from dividing.  
  • Biological therapies, or immunotherapy, are given by vein or orally. However, unlike chemotherapies that attack the cancer directly, biological therapies attack cancer cells by using the immune system or by blocking chemical reactions that are unique to the specific cancer cell being treated. Two of the latest biological therapies offered at Maimonides are monoclonal antibodies and radioimmunotherapy. Monoclonal antibodies work by targeting certain molecules in the body and attaching themselves to those molecules. This causes some cancer cells to die and makes others more likely to be destroyed by chemotherapy and radiation, thereby enhancing the value of those therapies. Radioimmunotherapy involves monoclonal antibodies with radioactive particles, which attach themselves directly to the cancer cell and damage it with small amounts of radiation without injuring nearby healthy tissue.
  • Radiation therapy consists of directing a high-energy beam at areas of the body harboring cancer may also be a part of the treatment plan for hematologic cancers.

Specialized Expertise in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Multiple Myeloma

The Multiple Myeloma Program at the Maimonides Cancer Center offers specialized expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of plasma cell disorders, including Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance (MGUS), multiple myeloma, and primary amyloidosis. Our myeloma team consists of experts in hematology/oncology, radiation oncology, pain and palliative care, hematopathology, interventional radiology, orthopedics, nursing and social services.  Our multidisciplinary group formulates prospective diagnostic and therapeutic plans tailored to each person’s illness, including its physical, emotional and social effects. Armed with a specific therapeutic plan, each patient has the total support of the myeloma team, as well as the ready availability of multiple social services, including a multiple myeloma support group, aide in obtaining insurance and financial support for medicines and other services.

The Maimonides Multiple Myeloma Program participates in clinical trials, including the personalized medicine initiative of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) the CoMMpass trial. Patients have access to established treatments such as IMIDs and proteosome inhibitors, as well as newer treatments through our clinical trials program. Our patients have access to stem cell transplant programs through a collaboration with Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein School of Medicine.