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Roswell ParkRoswell Park Study is First to Show That Exercise Strengthens Immune System in Multiple Myeloma Patients

The study focused on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, essential for fighting cancer.

A clinical trial led by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has revealed that exercise may play a vital role in strengthening the immune system of patients with multiple myeloma. This nonpharmaceutical approach could offer a new way to help control this type of blood cancer, providing hope for a more holistic treatment strategy.

Key Points:

  • Forty-three (43) patients participated in a six-month exercise program, with half receiving supervised strength training and the other half using activity trackers.
  • The ratio of exhausted to non-exhausted T cells was significantly reduced after the exercise regimen.
  • Specifically, the ratio of CD4+ TIGIT+ to non-exhausted CD4+ cells was reduced from 0.71 to 0.57, and CD8+ PD-1+ to non-exhausted CD8+ cells from 1.81 to 1.48.

Additional Points:

  • The research was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.
  • A larger prospective trial is being planned to further explore the effects of exercise on immune function, bone disease, and microbiome in patients with monoclonal plasma cell disorders.


  • The study’s findings suggest that exercise could be a promising nonpharmaceutical intervention for multiple myeloma patients, potentially leading to a less-exhausted immune system capable of combating the disease more effectively.

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“With these encouraging results from our pilot study, we have been able to show for the first time in myeloma patients that the immune system can be influenced by lifestyle interventions like supervised exercises. We have therefore started a larger prospective trial offering remote supervised exercise or intermittent fasting to influence parameters such as immune function, bone disease and microbiome in patients with monoclonal plasma cell disorders.”

Jens Hillengass, MD, PhD
Chief of Myeloma
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
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