Stem Cell Therapy for Myeloma
As the second most common hematological cancer after leukemia, myeloma (also known as multiple myeloma, plasma cell myeloma or Kahler’s disease) is a cancer which affects the plasma cells. These cells are a type of white blood cell whose primary responsibility is producing antibodies.
An extremely serious cancer, myeloma is traditionally viewed as incurable, although treatment can extend life significantly in many patients. Popular treatments for myeloma include chemotherapy, steroids, radiation and, more recently, the use of autologous stem cells.
Autologous stem cells are used in the treatment of myeloma. This simply refers to stem cells which are obtained from a patient’s own body. Using these cells prevents the issue of rejection, which is common in organ and cell transplants using a donor.
In myeloma treatment, a patient’s blood is taken before they begin chemotherapy or any other type of treatment. The blood is put through a process which separates the stem cells, and those stem cells are then frozen. The patient undergoes the treatment which their doctor feels is best for them, based on overall health, age, and other factors. Currently, stem cell therapy is not seen as a singular treatment for myeloma.
Once the primary type of therapy is completed, a patient will undergo a simple transfusion in which the stem cells are put back into the blood. Once there, they will hopefully prompt a remission of the cancer.
There are different opinions regarding whether stem cell therapy should be performed immediately upon diagnosis or after another treatment. While many experts feel that, due to its very low risk of side effects, stem cell therapy should be viewed as a first-option alternative. However, this is a very new approach and something each patient must decide with their doctor.
How many stem cell treatments should be given is also under debate. Some experts feel that a single treatment is sufficient. Others prefer one transfusion immediately after diagnosis, then another after treatment. Still others feel that two treatments should be given in rapid succession after the initial treatment. Due to the very recent introduction of stem cell therapy into myeloma treatment, these are all issues which each patient must decide independently, along with their doctor.
Is It Safe?
Treating myeloma is one of the most popular current uses for stem cell therapy. It is considered almost universally safe, and is approved for patients up to 78 years of age, with overall health taken into consideration. In many cases, myeloma patients report that their initial treatment was much more uncomfortable than their stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy is most often done on an outpatient basis and is extremely well tolerated in most cases.
If you are considering stem cell therapy for myeloma treatment, seek out a doctor who specializes in treating myeloma. Chances are good that they will already be well-versed in stem cell therapy. If your doctor is not in favor of the treatment or not very knowledgeable about it, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere. You won’t have to search very long, as most specialists and clinics which deal with myeloma on a regular basis are very familiar with and experienced in stem cell treatment.
The doctors we refer specialize in myeloma treatment with stem cells and would love to talk to you about it. Just enter your information into the contact form on right hand side. One of the doctors will contact you within 24 hours.