Autologous Blood Stem-Cell Transplant and Plasmapharesis for Myeloma
In some cases, your physician team may suggest you consider receiving blood stem-cell transplant in addition to other treatments for your myeloma.
Blood stem-cell transplant is a procedure to replace your bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. At Scott & White, we specialize in autologous blood stem-cell transplants (AUTO) for the treatment of myeloma.
The Process of an AUTO Transplant
- Blood stem cells are removed from your own body. Auto means “self.”
- While hospitalized, you then receive intensive, high-dose chemotherapy, killing cancerous cells.
- Your own blood cells are not destroyed by the harsh treatment.
- Once the intensive chemotherapy treatments are completed, your stem cells are put back in your body.
- You will be in the hospital several weeks.
- It’s a high-risk procedure appropriate for only certain patients.
Factors That Impact Whether You Are a Candidate for AUTO Transplant
- The likelihood chemotherapy alone will cure your myeloma
- Your overall health
- Your heart health
- Your kidney health
- Whether you can tolerate the intense chemotherapy
- Your personal preference
An AUTO transplant for myeloma is considered salvage or rescue therapy.
By harvesting your own blood stem cells in autologous stem-cell transplants prior to your going through high-dose chemotherapy, we can deliver doses of chemotherapy that may be curative for some blood cancers. You then receive your own stem cells back, which allows you to regrow the blood-making capacity of your body.
During the course of your disease, your physician team may recommend a procedure called plasmapharesis if your body is producing so many antibodies that your blood is thickened, flowing poorly through your veins, and you’re having:
- Vision problems
- Difficulty thinking clearly
In this procedure, the clear part of your blood (plasma) containing the thickened antibodies is removed from your body and is sent through a machine that separates the plasma from the blood cells.
Your plasma containing unneeded antibodies is not returned to you but is replaced with donated, antibody-free plasma along with your normal blood cells. Your blood viscosity returns to normal quickly.