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Jacalyn Rosenblatt and David Avigan

Immune therapy has emerged as a promising area of cancer therapeutics based on its potential for tumor selectivity and targeting of chemotherapy-resistant clones. Allogeneic transplantation produces durable remissions in a subset of patients, albeit at the cost of graft- versus-host disease. Recent years have witnessed efforts to induce more selective immune responses via dendritic cell vaccines, autologous and engineered T-cell therapy, and immune checkpoint blockade. Optimizing these immunotherapeutic approaches, understanding how to best use them in combination, and determining how to integrate them with standard anti-myeloma therapy could provide the potential to alter the natural history of this disease.

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Jacob P. Laubach, Constantine S. Mitsiades, Anuj Mahindra, Marlise R. Luskin, Jacalyn Rosenblatt, Irene M. Ghobrial, Robert L. Schlossman, David Avigan, Noopur Raje, Nikhil C. Munshi, Kenneth C. Anderson and Paul G. Richardson

Despite significant progress in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM) over the past decade, this disease remains incurable and almost all patients ultimately experience relapse and become refractory to treatment over time. However, the outlook for patients with relapsed MM has improved markedly with the use of the immunomodulatory drugs thalidomide and lenalidomide, and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib. Moreover, the development of new drug classes based on preclinical rationale and the introduction of next-generation agents is likely to further expand treatment options and improve outcomes for relapsed MM.