B) Stem cell transplantation
Stem cell transplantation remains one of the best therapies for most blood malignancies and many other blood disorders like thalassemia. It is an invasive and risky process, but its effectiveness in the treatment of multiple myeloma is unparalleled. The process usually used in multiple myeloma is called autologous stem cell transplantation in which cells of the same patient are harvested and this is followed by high doses of chemotherapy or radiotherapy to kill any cancer cells along with the bone marrow of the patient, then the harvested cells are reinfused and created the “new marrow”. The process can also be done without ablating the old marrow completely which, in some studies, has shown greater results in fighting off myeloma cells, but has also increased the risk of graft-versus-host disease.
Graft-versus-host disease is considered the most serious complication of stem cell transplantation in which the transfused bone marrow attacks the body and can cause death in severe cases. This, however, has been greatly minimized with modern techniques and autologous stem cell transplantation rather than the use of donor cells “allogenic stem cell transplantation”.