FCS Launches Advanced Cellular Therapy Program to Treat Recurring Blood Cancers

Press Release

In Partnership With

Florida Cancer Specialists

First in Sarasota County to Offer Maintenance Program for Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma

Fort Myers, Fla., October 31, 2023 – Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, LLC (FCS) is now offering an advanced maintenance therapy program that slows the progression of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM). The treatment, teclistamab (TECVAYLI®), is a type of rapidly evolving cancer therapy that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. FCS is the first oncology care provider in Sarasota County to offer the maintenance program, with plans to expand to other FCS sites across Florida in the coming months.

“Addressing relapses in multiple myeloma can be complex and challenging,” said FCS medical oncologist and hematologist Anjan Patel, MD, who was instrumental in establishing the teclistamab maintenance program at FCS. “The goal is to help reduce symptoms and slow the progression of the disease to remission, when most or all signs and symptoms disappear. In clinical research trials, 62 percent of patients had a favorable response to this therapy.”

Teclistamab was granted accelerated approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2022 as the first bispecific B-cell antigen-directed CD3 T-cell engager for treating adults with RRMM who have received at least four prior lines of therapy. Given as an injection, teclistamab has shown promising results for adults with RRMM whose cancer has come back or did not respond to prior treatment.

The initial treatments are typically administered in an inpatient hospital setting so that clinicians can monitor any adverse reactions. Patients can then proceed with ongoing maintenance on an outpatient basis with close monitoring, oversight and treatment guidance from FCS.

“Our program provides patients the opportunity to continue treatment with skilled clinical professionals and the added convenience of being close to home,” said Kristen Boykin, PharmD, BCOP, BCPS, FCS Director of Pharmacy Operations.

Boykin reports that initial patient response has been extremely positive and the program’s availability is “good news” for many seasonal residents in the area who can continue treatment while in Florida.

Lucio N. Gordan, MD, FCS President & Managing Physician, said, “This is the latest of many examples of our commitment to offer patients renewed hope and quality of life with the availability of novel therapeutics that are resulting in better disease control and longer lives for our patients.”

Despite ongoing treatment advancements, there is no cure for multiple myeloma, which affects white blood cells in the bone marrow. As these cancer cells multiply and build up in the bone marrow, they crowd out healthy blood cells, which can weaken the body’s ability to fight infection and damage the bones and kidneys.

Bispecific antibody drugs are a rapidly evolving therapy that is unique compared to traditional chemotherapy in that it utilizes the immune system to fight cancer. These therapies work by binding to special proteins that allow the immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells.

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