• 9/11 Victim Programs
  • Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)
  • WTC Health Program (WTCHP)
  • Wrongful Death VCF Claims

9/11 Victims - New Treatment Advances in Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma has emerged as one of the most common 9/11-related blood cancer diagnoses for people exposed to toxic dust and fumes after the 9/11 attacks. The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) recognizes multiple myeloma as a 9/11-related condition with over 700 cases as of the end of 2023. This prevalence highlights the importance of frequent health monitoring for 9/11 first responders and survivors, including individuals who lived, worked, went to school, or were otherwise present in the area in the months following the attack.

The treatment of multiple myeloma, a serious cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow, is complex. In the past, treatment typically started with a high dose of chemotherapy plus a stem cell transplant of the patient’s own stem cells. Unfortunately, almost all myeloma patients will experience relapse (the cancer returns after a successful course of treatment) and/or the disease will become refractory (the cancer does not respond to treatment), so patients with multiple myeloma often require many treatment regimens during the course of their illness, and many patients develop resistance to these treatments. 

Fortunately, multiple myeloma treatment has seen significant advancements in recent years, offering better outcomes, higher quality of life, and hope for those battling the disease, including those affected by the aftermath of 9/11, where exposure to toxic debris has been linked to an increased risk of various cancers, including multiple myeloma. This new frontier of treatment options for multiple myeloma includes CAR-T cell therapy, monoclonal antibody drug treatments, and bispecific antibody drug treatments.

Car T-Cell Therapy

One of the most promising areas of advancement in treating multiple myeloma is a type of immunotherapy called Car T-cell therapy. This is an innovative approach that involves genetically engineering a patient's own immune cells to recognize and attack multiple myeloma cells. It offers a targeted treatment option that helps to reduce the side effects often associated with other therapies such as chemotherapy. Car T-cell therapy involves removing T cells from a patient’s blood, and then reprogramming them so they have specific proteins, called receptors, that allow the T cells to recognize the cancerous cells. The changed T cells are returned to the patient’s body, programmed to now seek out and destroy the cancer cells. 

Car T-cell therapy has shown incredible results in clinical trials, leading to the approval of two Car T-cell therapies in recent years by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). In 2021, the FDA approved idecabtagene vicleucel (Abecma), and, in 2022, it approved ciltacabtagene autoleucel (Carvytk). Both approvals were for treating adults with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. Researchers are also evaluating the effectiveness of using Car T-cells in combination with other treatments, and are looking to identify other antigens found on myeloma cells that may be effective immunotherapy targets.

Monoclonal Antibody Drug Treatments

The emergence of multiple myeloma drugs called monoclonal antibodies has also transformed the way we treat multiple myeloma. These drugs act as antibodies made by the human immune system, binding to specific proteins, called antigens, on the surface of cancer cells, and helping the immune system to identify and eliminate them. FDA-approved drugs in this category have been shown to significantly improve outcomes for multiple myeloma patients, and are often used in combination with other treatments to enhance efficacy. There are three main monoclonal antibodies available for the treatment of multiple myeloma: daratumumab (Darzalex), isatuximab (Sarclisa), and elotuzumab (Empliciti). 

Bispecific Antibody Drug Treatments

Bispecific antibodies (bsAb) represent another new type of targeted immunotherapy that has shown impressive results in relapsed/refractory myeloma. These drugs are designed to bind an immune target (T cell or white blood cell like the natural killer cell) and a target on the cancer cell (such as BCMA, GPRC5D, or others) to help the immune system destroy the cancer cell. In the past two years, three bispecific antibodies – teclistamab (Tecvayli), elranatamab (Elrexfio), and talquetamab (Talvey) – have received FDA approval for the treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. Like other treatments mentioned above, bispecific antibody drug treatments may be combined with other treatments to improve T-cell function. 

Support for 9/11 Multiple Myeloma Patients

For 9/11 victims dealing with multiple myeloma, support is available through programs like the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The WTCHP provides no-cost medical monitoring and treatment for certified 9/11-related physical and mental health conditions, while the VCF offers financial compensation for eligible 9/11-related physical health conditions (including Multiple Myeloma), including the death of a loved one due to 9/11-related conditions. This compensation covers both economic losses such as loss of past or future income, loss of pension or retirement benefits, and loss of health benefits, as well as non-economic losses including physical and emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and more. Eligibility for these programs is based on a variety of factors including providing proof of presence in the Exposure Zone between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, registering with the VCF and WTCHP by applicable deadlines, and filing your VCF claim by a separate deadline. An experienced 9/11 attorney can help you determine your eligibility for the VCF and WTCHP.

We Encourage You to Reach Out to Hansen & Rosasco

If you or a loved one suffered exposure in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and are facing or have faced a multiple myeloma diagnosis, Hansen & Rosasco, LLP is here to help. Our team of dedicated 9/11 attorneys understands the complexities of 9/11-related claims and can guide you through the process of accessing the support and compensation you deserve. We are committed to advocating for the health and well-being of 9/11 victims, ensuring they receive the care and recognition they are entitled to. Contact us to learn more about how we can assist you in receiving the compensation and medical support you deserve.