By Paul Kleutghen | Posted - Mar 22nd, 2021





Helpful Resources for Multiple Myeloma Patients Considering Stem Cell Transplants

I clearly remember the early days of my own treatment (7 years ago) for a high-risk myeloma variant. There weren’t enough hours in the day to not just compile the list of questions but to also find the answers. Sure, there were some resources available but not to the same extent as we have now, especially with the Myeloma Crowd by HealthTree and HealthTree University (Stem Cell Transplant is in Course 8). Many of those questions dealt with stem cell transplants (SCT), and I would expect that many recently diagnosed patients will also have a similar wealth of questions.

The Journal Cancers recently dedicated a special issue solely to Stem Cell Transplants in Cancer Treatment with, probably, the best survey article, titled “Role of Stem Cell Transplantation in Multiple Myeloma”, that I have seen in my years of reading journals. Even though the article was published in a medical journal it is remarkably easy to read and chances are that you will learn much of immediate potential use but also to gain a good grasp of things that are on the horizon with respect to myeloma treatment. I will not even try to summarize this article, as there is so much to digest, but just whet your appetite by listing the key topics you will find answers to:

  • Some history about SCT (always nice to know)
  • Patient eligibility in SCT for multiple myeloma
    • Patient related factors
    • Renal (kidney) insufficiency and auto SCT
    • Induction therapy 
    • Conditioning therapy
    • The role of SCT as conditioning therapy
    • Single or tandem (back-to-back) SCT 
    • Timing of auto-SCT
    • Auto-SCT as salvage therapy
    • The role of maintenance treatment after SCT
    • Allogeneic (donor) SCT
    • The role of Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) in SCT
    • There is some nice discussion in the ‘Conclusions’ section of the article about novel methods of treatment (such a CAR-T, bi-specific antibodies, different immune targets, Natural Killer (NK) cells, and others) that we will be seeing in clinical practice as time goes on.

This article is highly recommended, not just for the recently diagnosed/’new’ patients but also for those of us who already went through the SCT process, as you are bound to learn something new, here and there, that may become of value to you sometime in the future.

Additionally, consider joining our new Stem Cell Transplant Chapter to hear important topics about stem cell transplant and chat with others who have gone through the experience. Join this new chapter today! 


Paul Kleutghen
About the Author

Paul Kleutghen - I am a patient diagnosed in 2014 with primary plasma cell leukemia (pPCL), a rare and aggressive variant of multiple myeloma and have been very fortunate to find treatment at the division of Cellular Therapy at the Duke University Cancer Institute. My wife, Vicki, and I have two adult children and a grandson who is the ‘light of my life’. Successful treatment has allowed Vicki and I to do what we love best : traveling the world, albeit it with some extra precautions to keep infections away. My career in the pharmaceutical industry has given me insights that I am currently putting to use as an advocate to lower drug pricing, especially prices for anti-cancer drugs and, very specifically, CAR-T therapies, with recent contributions posted by Health affairs, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


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