There is plenty of debate over autologous stem cell transplants in the treatment of myeloma. Autologous means the patient is using their own stem cells for the transplant. Stem cells are harvested, the patient and myeloma is blasted with heavy duty chemo and stem cells are put back. In theory, it's a reset on a patient's system. When I was first diagnosed, I assumed a transplant was in my future. Given the conditions of my kidneys, a transplant would have been risky. The heavy duty chemo is super toxic to the kidneys.
And then I hooked up with Berenson, who is vehemently against transplants. While I did harvest my stem cells (which was a challenge to get any significant number, given the effects of chemo on stem cells), a transplant is off the table for me. I'm firmly in Berenson's camp....for me. There's no right or wrong though. Each patient chooses a path and jumps in 100%.
The debate over autologous transplants has yet to be concluded. But now there is a line of thought that allogeneic transplants might be the way to cure myeloma. Allogeneic meaning there is a stem cell donor. While a bit more common in other cancers, it's not common in myeloma patients. As far as I know, they're far too risky. Nonetheless, there is a school of thought that considers it an option.
With that introduction, there is a Cure Talk this Thursday on the topic of Allogenic Transplants. The role of allogeneic stem-cell transplantation is evolving in the paradigm of myeloma treatment. Despite its therapeutic potential of a myeloma cure, the use of donor stem cell transplantation is highly debated in the medical field due to the safety risks and rate of relapse. We are talking to Dr. Krishna Komanduri to better understand allogeneic transplants, optimal timing, and how to manage graft-versus-myeloma effect for improved efficacy and safety. The link for the call is below.