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Bristol Myers Squibb's Abecma® Approved as First CAR T Therapy for Earlier Treatment in Japan for Relapsed or Refractory Multiple Myeloma

Bristol-Myers Squibb has recently obtained regulatory approval for an expanded indication of Abecma® (idecabtagene vicleucel), a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy targeting B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA). This approval applies to patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) who have undergone at least two prior treatment regimens, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti-CD38 antibody.

Distinguished as the first-in-class BCMA-directed CAR T cell therapy, Abecma operates by recognizing and binding to BCMA on the surface of multiple myeloma cells. This interaction triggers the proliferation of CAR T cells and the release of cytokines, leading to the breakdown and demise of BCMA-expressing cells.

Multiple myeloma, characterized by recurrent relapses that are challenging to manage with existing treatments, involves the malignant transformation of plasma cells in the bone marrow. In its cancerous state, plasma cells continue producing monoclonal immunoglobulin (M protein) without the ability to combat foreign substances, resulting in various clinical manifestations, including hematopoietic disorders, kidney damage, and osteolytic lesions.

Abecma was initially approved for the treatment of adult patients with RRMM who had received at least three prior therapies, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti-CD38 antibody, and demonstrated disease progression on the last therapy.

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