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Adult Stem Cells Treat Cancer

A patient with multiple myeloma has been treated with his own autologous adult stem cells, and is now cancer-free.

Since receiving a kidney transplant 15 years ago, the patient – who has chosen to remain anonymous – has had to take immuno-suppressant drugs. Upon being diagnosed with multiple myeloma a year and a half ago, the patient suddenly faced a dilemma: reduction of the immunosuppressing drugs might have allowed his body to fight the cancer, but also could have resulted in rejection of the transplanted kidney. His doctors therefore recommended that he undergo treatment with his own bone-marrow-derived autologous adult stem cells.

The procedure was performed a month ago on the 49-year-old patient. Now, a PET (positron emission tomography) scan revealed that he is free of cancer.

According to nephrologist Dr. Madan Bahadur, this patient "is the first kidney transplant patient in the world to undergo a stem cell transplant to beat multiple myeloma after ablative chemotherapy." In addition to Dr. Bahadur, the patient was also treated by hematologist Dr. Sameer Shah and oncologist Dr. Ganpati Bhat at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital.

According to Dr. V. Hase, chief of nephrology at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital, "The Jaslok patient’s case is of great academic interest. Firstly, it is rare for a kidney transplant patient to develop multiple myeloma. Secondly, no transplant patient in India has undergone a stem cell transplant as a rescue mission against cancer."

As Dr. Hase further adds, in light of the fact that renal failure is a known complication of multiple myeloma, "In the Western world, multiple myeloma patients would undergo the stem cell transplant first and a renal transplant later. But in the Mumbai case, the opposite has happened."

The results of the transplant are scheduled to appear in the European journal, Nephrology Dialysis Transplant.

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