Exercise for people with multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of plasma cells, is characterised by osteolytic bone disease. Fatigue and muscle weakness are common treatment side effects.

This project—the MyeEx Study—is a novel evidence-based exercise program specially designed to improve the quality of life and physical function of people with multiple myeloma.  

The study involves 12 weeks of twice-weekly exercise training sessions, individually supervised by an accredited exercise physiologist. A home program, to be completed once per week, will also be provided. Each 60-minute session consists of high-intensity interval training, moderate-to-hard intensity muscle strengthening exercises and impact loading activities.

Following the initial 12 weeks of individual exercise training sessions, participants are offered an additional 12 weeks of small group exercise sessions.

Volunteers undergo one testing session before starting the study, which are repeated every three to six months during study participation. After baseline testing, participants are randomised to either wait for three months before starting the exercise program, or to start exercise immediately.

Interim results confirm the safety and feasibility of the exercise program for people with multiple myeloma. Furthermore, the interim results indicate significant improvements in the quality of life and fitness of people with multiple myeloma after the exercise program. Molecular studies on the collected blood samples are underway to elucidate the mechanisms underpinning the beneficial effects of exercise.

Partner organisations include The University of Queensland, Greenslopes Private Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and the North Lakes Health Precinct.

Project investigators

Project leaders engage with and draw on the expertise of partners within universities, research institutes, and hospital and health services around Queensland.

  • Associate Professor Michelle Hill, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (Lead)

  • Associate Professor Tina Skinner, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland

  • Mrs Jennifer Nicol, PhD candidate, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland

  • Associate Professor Peter Mollee, Princess Alexandra Hospital

  • Ms Carmel Woodrow, Princess Alexandra Hospital

  • Dr Nick Weber, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, North Lakes Health Precinct

  • Dr Andrew Nicol, Greenslopes Private Hospital

Project co-ordinator

  • Mr Brent Cunningham, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland

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