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New Drugs Give Hope To Patients With Deadly Blood Cancer

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Derrick Blakley Derrick Blakley
Derrick Blakley is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Two new drugs for multiple myeloma are giving new hope to patients with advanced cases of the deadly blood cancer.

In this original report, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley takes a look at how these new treatments are transforming lives.

Andrea Rosengarden was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008, received treatment, but the disease came back and by last year, doctors were nearly out of options.

“I was in the worst place possible,” said Rosengarden.

But last June, the FDA approved a new drug for myeloma patients. It’s called Kyprolis, a liquid that’s injected by a nurse. For Rosengarden, now 53, it’s been a life-saver.

“This worked for me, so it was a miracle that it did what it did,” said Rosengarden.

“We know that these patients were typically not having any reasonable options and bringing one additional drug makes a tremendous difference,” said Dr. Andrzej Jakubowski.

But that’s not the only new myleloma drug. Pomalyst, a medicine in pill form, was approved in February and is also for myeloma patients that older drugs failed.

Dr. Andrjez Jakubowiak runs the University of Chicago’s myeloma program.

“Myeloma, which was very difficult to treat for many years and no progress was made for over 20 years,” said Jakubowiak

Two decades ago, life expectancy for myeloma patients was just three years, but the first generation of breakthrough drugs, revelmid, a pill and velcade, an injected liquid, have doubled that. The new medicines promise even longer lives.

“It was horrible and it’s a year later and I’m great. I’m really great,” said Rosengarden.

Multiple myeloma is caused by an over-production of plasma cells in the blood. It can damage bones, kidneys and the immune system. About 20,000 new patients are diagnosed every year.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley was diagnosed with multiple myeloma back in 2010 takes two of the older drugs we mentionted, revelmid and velcade.

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