Multiple Myeloma

2227 words 9 pages
Multiple Myeloma Multiple Myeloma is a form of cancer which affects the plasma cells of the body, which are white blood cells. Multiple Myeloma, first described in 1848, is a disease “characterized by a proliferation of malignant plasma cells and a subsequent overabundance of monoclonal paraprotein.” To understand how Multiple Myeloma affects an infected person’s plasma cells, it helps to have a general understanding of how normal blood cells are formed and how they act. Most blood cells develop from stem cells, which can be found in bone marrow (soft material inside our bones – the “filling”). Stem cells mature into white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets.2 The purpose of white blood cells is to fight off infection, while …show more content…

Those experiencing symptoms should and normally do choose the latter two. Induction therapy includes treatment through many different types of drugs. The first one is chemotherapy, which kills myeloma cells using radiation; however, this method also kills normal cells, including unaffected stem cells in the bone marrow, and can lead to the need for a painful bone-marrow transplant, which will be discussed later.3 Another is target therapy, which use drugs to block the growth of the malignant cells by targeting the abnormal protein that stimulates said growth. Steroids can also be used, as they can trigger the death of myeloma cells.3
There are some cases where a stem cell transplant is needed, as it allows the affected person to be treated with a high dose of drugs (as shown in the above section, normal stem cells can die from treatment along with the cancerous cells, sometimes requiring a stem cell transplant).3 The new cells you get through a stem cell transplant are to replace the cells destroyed by treatment. Stem cell transplants can either come from yourself or a family member (in rare cases, other donors may work). When the stem cells are donated by yourself, it is called an auitologous stem cell transplant, where before the treatment is started, stem cells are removed from the bone marrow and frozen or stored. After the treatment (usually Chemotherapy), the cells are returned to your body. When


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