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Stem Cell Transplant Explained

A stem cell transplant is a procedure that replaces damaged or diseased stem cells with healthy stem cells. For many people with multiple myeloma, a stem cell transplant is an important part of treatment.

Stem cell transplants, for eligible patients, are known as a standard of care in multiple myeloma. A standard of care is a treatment that is accepted by medical experts as proper treatment for a certain type of disease and that is widely used by healthcare professionals.

What are stem cells?

  • A stem cell is a type of blood cell found in the bone marrow and blood that is not fully developed yet

  • These stem cells can mature into all types of blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets

  • Once mature, blood cells have many jobs and help the body function properly

How does a stem cell transplant help in multiple myeloma?

  • Doctors use high doses of treatment to kill as many myeloma cells as possible. These high doses can also damage or kill stem cells, which we need to live

  • A stem cell transplant replaces damaged stem cells with healthy stem cells. In most cases, stem cells are collected from the patient’s own body, saved, and transplanted at a later time

The patient and their doctor will work together to decide whether a stem cell transplant may be right for them. The decision will be based on a number of factors that include age, how well the patient has responded to multiple myeloma treatment, any other medical conditions they may have, and the patient’s own desires and available support, among other factors.

Where can I learn more about stem cell transplant?

International Myeloma Foundation >

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society >

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation >

Information about these independent organizations is provided as an additional resource for obtaining information related to multiple myeloma. It does not indicate endorsement by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company of an organization or its communications.

Your healthcare team is your best source of information.

Related information

Multiple Myeloma in African Americans

Find out what’s different about multiple myeloma in African Americans.

How Is Multiple Myeloma Treated?

Read about the different options that are available to treat multiple myeloma.

Getting Appropriate Treatment

Learn tips for getting the best possible care.


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