Multiple myeloma patients can now enjoy longer lives, thanks to three treatments recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Although myeloma is a relatively uncommon type of cancer, it is deadly. Prior to the development of more effective treatments, patients were surviving about two years past diagnosis; however, they are now living more than three times as long, MedicalXpress reports.

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Multiple myeloma is a cancer formed in the blood; symptoms include: bone problems, low blood counts, high blood levels of calcium, nerve damage, and kidney problems, among other issues, according to the American Cancer Society. However, some patients may not experience any symptoms at all.

The significant advancement of new treatments has left doctors like Sikander Ailawadhi, a hematologist and oncologist at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, with hope and excitement.

“It was unprecedented to have these drugs approved within such a short span of time for the treatment of a disease which is considered incurable,” Ailawadhi told MedicalXpress. “We can almost guarantee some degree of response to every single patient who walks through the doors for treatment with newly diagnosed myeloma.”

The drugs, approved in November 2015, all focus on patients who have received prior treatment and then relapsed — an unfortunately common occurrence with multiple myeloma.The drugs are daratumumab, ixazomib and elotuzumab.

The next important step is to discover the various ways to use the new drugs to make them the most effective, Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic’s Michael A. Thompson, MD,PhD, explains in this video.

Some of the current research involves looking at various populations who have been treated for different lengths of time, and also exploring the effectiveness of the new drugs when they are combined.

“Besides all those drugs that have already been approved, there’s still more drugs that are probably going to be coming in the next few years,” Thompson explains. “There’s just an amazing amount of excitement around myeloma right now."

See also: Measles Virus Cures Cancer In Woman With Multiple Myeloma; Stacy Erholtz Now Fundraising More Research

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