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The challenge of the newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) patient is that an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) is considered to be standard-of-care MM therapy and therefore pushed by the majority of oncologists.
The challenge is that an ASCT has NEVER delivered a longer, average overall survival and often results in a host of short, long-term and late stage side effects.
Regardless, it is in the best interests of all newly diagnosed MM patients to learn about auto and allo stem cell transplants in order to be educated as to whether or not an ASCT is right for you.
A hematopoietic stem cell transplant, commonly called a bone marrow transplant (BMT) is one of conventional oncology’s most aggressive procedures and often the best hope for a deep or complete remission. If you are considering a BMT you must weight the risks versus potential rewards in comparing single or combination chemotherapy in multiple myeloma, lymphomas or leukemias.”
If your oncologist has mentioned any kind of stem cell transplant as a component of your treatment plan, read the post below to learn the pros, cons, and side effects of a bone marrow transplant. The vast majority of articles and blog posts on PeopleBeatingCancer pertain to the subject of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Therefore, understanding the BMT basics are key to asking the right questions and making the best treatment decisions for you.
Questions to ask your onc based on the information below are:
I am both a multiple myeloma survivor and MM cancer coach. Have you been diagnosed with multiple myeloma? What symptoms, what stage? Please learn about both conventional and evidence-based non-conventional therapies for multiple myeloma.
Please scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.
Knowledge is Power!
“Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the transplantation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells, usually derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood. It is a medical procedure in the fields of hematology and oncology, most often performed for patients with certain cancers of the blood or bone marrow, such as multiple myeloma or leukemia. In these cases, the recipient’s immune system is usually destroyed with radiation or chemotherapy before the transplantation. Infection and graft-versus-host disease is a major complication of allogenic HSCT.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation remains a dangerous procedure with many possible complications; it is reserved for patients with life-threatening diseases. As the survival of the procedure increases, its use has expanded beyond cancer, such as autoimmune diseases.“
Autologous HSCT requires the extraction (apheresis) of haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) from the patient and storage of the harvested cells in a freezer. The patient is then treated with high-dose chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy with the intention of eradicating the patient’s malignant cell population at the cost of partial or complete bone marrow ablation (destruction of patient’s bone marrow function to grow new blood cells).
Allogeneic HSCT involves two people: the (healthy) donor and the (patient) recipient. Allogeneic HSC donors must have a tissue (HLA) type that matches the recipient. Matching is performed on the basis of variability at three or more loci of the HLA gene, and a perfect match at these loci is preferred. Even if there is a good match at these critical alleles, the recipient will require immunosuppressive medications to mitigate graft-versus-host disease. Allogeneic transplant donors may be related (usually a closely HLA matched sibling), syngeneic (a monozygotic or ‘identical’ twin of the patient – necessarily extremely rare since few patients have an identical twin, but offering a source of perfectly HLA matched stem cells) or unrelated (donor who is not related and found to have very close degree of HLA matching)
” Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), once considered an effective yet risky alternative to drug therapy for blood cancer, has become more accessible and successful in a wide range of patients as a result of major advances in transplant strategies and technologies…
HSCT is effectively used today as a form of “replacement” therapy for patients with hard–to–treat blood cancers, providing healthy cells from either the patient (autologous transplantation) or from a donor (allogeneic transplantation) to better equip patients to fight the disease on their own…
Researchers also contend that transplant outcomes can be further improved by identifying patients who are at high risk for certain complications, such as cognitive decline, or by employing post-transplant treatments to reduce their risk of relapse…
As we are now able to focus our efforts on improving the overall patient experience and reducing the risk of relapse, the leading cause of death after transplant, we have greatly improved long–term survival outcomes for patients who before might not have had another treatment option.”
“…Cells are relatively simple to control in a Petri dish. The right molecules or drugs, if internalized by a cell, can change its behavior; such as inducing a stem cell to differentiate or correcting a defect in a cancer cell. This level of control is lost after transplantation as cells typically behave according to environmental cues in the recipient’s body. Karp’s strategy, dubbed particle engineering, corrects this problem by turning cells into pre-programmable units. The internalized particles stably remain inside the transplanted cell and tell it exactly how to act, whether the cell is needed to release anti-inflammatory factors or regenerate lost tissue…”
Now that you know all there is to know about bone marrow transplants, (or you may be thoroughly confused) email me, your cancer coach, with any and all questions you may have about your own blood cancer diagnosis, staging, genetic involvement, etc.