Can bone marrow transplant cure multiple myeloma?
A stem cell transplant or multiple myeloma bone marrow transplant may be used to treat multiple myeloma by infusing healthy cells into the bone marrow. This helps to stimulate new growth in the bone marrow and restore the immune system. Patients with advanced stage multiple myeloma who are under 70 years of age and in good health are typically candidates for a stem cell transplant.
You will undergo a conditioning regimen before a stem-cell transplant for multiple myeloma, which involves intensive treatment to destroy as many myeloma cells as possible. You may get high doses of chemotherapy, and radiation therapy in some cases. When you have completed this preparatory regimen, you are able to undergo the transplant.
You start receiving the stem cells intravenously more like a blood transfusion. The stem cells migrate to the bone marrow after reaching the bloodstream and begin to form new blood cells in a cycle known as engraftment.
How long does it take to recover from a stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma?
Your care team will monitor your blood counts within months after the transplant. You may need red blood cell and platelet transfusions. Sometimes the intensive treatments that you receive for multiple myeloma before stem cell transplantation can cause side effects, such as infection. Your doctor may then administer IV antibiotics in this case. When you have an allogeneic transplant of stem cells (using donor cells), your doctor may recommend some medications to minimize the risk of graft-versus-host disease, a disorder in which the donated cells invade the tissues of the recipient.