Alabama Athletics

Following stem cell procedure in cancer treatment, Bill Battle expects to return to work soon

Alabama Athletics Director Bill Battle has incurable, but treatable, multiple myeloma

Alabama Director of Athletics Bill Battle has completed the latest in a series of treatments for multiple myeloma, and reports that he feels great and looks forward to returning to work on a limited basis at The University very soon.


On June 27, Battle underwent a stem cell transplant under the supervision of Sagar Lonial, M.D., a world-renowned expert in the research and treatment of multiple myeloma, at The Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta. He was released from the hospital on July 8 and, after almost two weeks of outpatient care, he was approved to return to his home in Tuscaloosa this week.


“Mr. Battle had an uneventful transplant course and is recovering well, as we expected," said Dr. Lonial.


Battle underwent an autologous stem cell transplant, a transplant using his own stem cells. He had been recovering on an outpatient basis with his son, Mike, and his family at their home in Marietta, Ga., while awaiting his formal release from treatment at Emory.


"I have completed this latest phase of my fight against multiple myeloma, and the outcome was extremely positive," Battle said. "My wife, Mary, a licensed oncology nurse, has been an amazing force in every stage of this fight over the last two years. I was fortunate to get early detection, aggressive treatment by the best doctors, and entered this recent phase in reasonably good physical shape. All of those factors were vital to this positive outcome.


“However, maybe the most important factor has been the outpouring of thoughts and prayers from around the country. It has been overwhelming, and Mary and I are most appreciative.


At this time, multiple myeloma is incurable but is very treatable. Great progress has been made over the past few years and more is expected in the future. Longer life and better quality of life is expected from those with early detection, with good fitness levels, and the autologous transplant. The transplant process pretty much wipes out the bone marrow and the immune system temporarily, but rapidly regrows. The risk for infections diminishes over time and as the patient recovers from the process."

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