More multiple myeloma patients eligible for stem cell transplantation


(BPT) - Article is sponsored and developed by BioLineRx USA, Inc.

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. There is a lot to learn while navigating numerous emotions. It’s always important to educate yourself about the disease as well as new research advances or therapies that might be right for you.

One cancer with recent treatment developments is multiple myeloma. This cancer is a hematologic malignancy, meaning it begins in blood-forming tissues like bone marrow. Multiple myeloma is the second most-common hematologic malignancy, occurring most commonly in people ages 65-74.1,2 It was estimated that more than 35,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2023.2

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of the immune system, according to the American Cancer Society.3 In general, when plasma cells become cancerous and grow out of control, this is multiple myeloma.

Treatment for multiple myeloma

Autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is an important part of treatment for multiple myeloma. In the U.S., as many as 8,000 ASCTs are performed each year in patients with multiple myeloma.4 Patients with multiple myeloma should speak with their doctor or transplant team to learn about ASCT and if it’s the right treatment approach for them.

“An increasing number of patients are candidates for ASCT which, when successful, has shown progression-free survival in people with multiple myeloma,” said Dr. Henry Fung, MD, FACP, FRCPE, Chair, Department of Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapies, Fox Chase Cancer Center.

The ASCT process starts by taking the patient’s own stem cells including blood or bone marrow which are removed or harvested through a procedure called apheresis. Stem cells are early cells that can develop into different types of blood cells, including plasma cells. Stem cells are collected, frozen and stored. The patient typically undergoes conditioning chemo, and the stem cells are then thawed and returned (transplanted) back into the patient.5 The stem cells travel to the bone marrow, engraft, and then start making new, normal blood cells.

Challenges and unmet needs

The success of ASCT depends on adequate mobilization of stem cells during the treatment process. Poor mobilization can be attributed to a variety of risk factors including increased age, evolving induction regimens, previous treatment, and previous radiation therapy among other risk factors.6-8

Prior to apheresis, patients go through induction therapy to reduce the amount of cancer cells in the blood. Depending on induction regimens and mobilization strategies, up to 47% of patients have had challenges collecting target numbers of hematopoietic stem cells for ASCT after one apheresis session.6,9 Due to the unpredictability in treatment and the possible need for multiple apheresis sessions, there’s the potential for significant burden on patients, care partners and apheresis centers.10

Understanding your treatment options

There have been advancements in the treatment approach in multiple myeloma, including in induction regimens and stem cell mobilization, and it is important for patients to understand their options.

“Patients have, for example, the ability to seek information on ways to reach target collection goals with the fewest numbers of apheresis sessions,” continued Dr. Fung. “Fewer apheresis sessions may mean giving patients time back to spend in ways they enjoy.”

If you or a loved one has multiple myeloma, talk with your doctor about current treatment options which may be best for you. For more information about multiple myeloma and ASCT, visit the American Cancer Society at, the HealthTree Foundation at or the International Myeloma Foundation at To learn more about the company sponsoring this article visit:


  1. Kazandjian D. Semin Oncol. 2016 Dec;43(6):676-681
  2. SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Myeloma. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD,
  3. American Cancer Society. What is Multiple Myeloma?. Atlanta, Ga. American Cancer Society; 2023.
  4. Auletta JJ, et al. Current use and outcome of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: CIBMTR US summary slides. 2021.
  5. American Cancer Society. Types of Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Transplants. Atlanta, Ga. American Cancer Society; 2023.
  6. Edmisson J, et al. Poster presented at: 64th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition; December 10-13, 2022; New Orleans, LA.
  7. Hulin C, et al. Haematologica. 2021;106(8):2257-2260. doi:10.3324/haematol.2020.261842
  8. Chhabra S, et al. Transplant Cell ­Ther. 2023;29(3):174.e1-174.e10. doi:10.1016/j.jtct.2022.11.029
  9. DiPersio JF, et al. Blood. 2009; 113(23):5720-6.
  10. Shaughnessy P, et al. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant, 2013;19(9)1301-1309. doi:10.1016/j.bbmt.2013.05.008
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US-CORP-2300038 (v1.0) 03/2024