A Return to Strength for Multiple Myeloma Patient With Appreciation For Mount Sinai Team
In 2012, at 50 years old, Peter Cole was diagnosed with a precursor condition to Multiple Myeloma called Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance (MGUS). His condition progressed to symptomatic Multiple Myeloma, a rare type of cancer found in the blood and bone marrow. While most people will respond to initial drug therapy for Multiple Myeloma, the disease is incurable. Life-long treatment with numerous medications is required.
Through the recommendation of his local oncologist, he was referred to Hearn Jay Cho, MD, PhD, Associate Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at the Mount Sinai Health System and a specialist in the treatment of Multiple Myeloma. Mount Sinai’s Multiple Myeloma Center of Excellence is the largest multiple myeloma program in New York City and recognized worldwide for clinical care and translational research. Dr. Cho and Sundar Jagannath, MD, Director of the Multiple Myeloma Program and Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) at The Tisch Cancer Institute recommended Peter undergo a autologous stem cell transplant (auto-transplant).
Before the transplant, Peter underwent several weeks of chemotherapy to reduce the myeloma burden in his body. Peter also spent time at the gym to build up strength and muscle mass to counter the weakness and weight loss that would come later. Before being admitted as an inpatient, his blood stem cells were harvested in preparation for the auto-transplant.
The chemotherapy treatment, reintroduction of blood stem cells, and supportive care over two weeks took place in a special isolation unit of Mount Sinai Hospital solely devoted to this and similar procedures. For three months after his release, Peter followed a recuperation period with a careful diet and stayed quarantined.
The bone marrow stem cell transplant was partially successful. Over the next few years, Peter underwent a variety of other treatments including participating in a clinical trial of an experimental immunotherapy drug. For the last three years, he has enjoyed a full remission due to success with a relatively new medication, Daratumumab (Darzalex). I feel quite strong, “Peter says. “I log in 60 to 80 miles a week on my bicycle during the season, swim regularly and continue full time with my architectural design practice.”
Peter sees Dr. Cho every three months for a consultation and once a year undergoes a battery of tests including blood work, PET-CT scans, and a bone marrow biopsy. “As treatment is life-long, it is important that you cultivate a relationship with a facility that is at the forefront of Myeloma research and treatment. It is a rare illness and few places in the world have the capability to treat it,” he says. “I am extraordinarily grateful to my Mount Sinai team. Dr. Cho is clearly extremely knowledgeable about Multiple Myeloma, but as important, he is warm and compassionate and his good sense of humor helps lighten the load. I also want to recognize the highly skilled and empathic Mount Sinai team, including a nutritionist and physical therapist, who have been a valued source of support during a challenging time in my life. They have provided a depth of expertise, facilities and resources that have been invaluable to me.”