Bone Marrow transplant is a specific therapy for patients with cancer or other related diseases. A bone marrow transplant involves a procedure of taking cells found in the bone marrow or stem cells, treating or filtering them, and then giving them back to the patient. The goal of this therapy is to transfer healthy bone marrow cells or stem cells to a person who has unhealthy bone marrow cells. Bone marrow transplant is a popular procedure that is used to treat blood cancer diseases like leukemia, aplastic anemia, lymphomas, immune deficiency disorders, and several tumor cancer. Blood cancer bone marrow transplant is conducted on patients who are suffering from cancer.
What is Bone Marrow?
The soft and spongy tissue that is found inside your bones is known as Bone marrow. It is the place where blood cells of your body develop & stored. On the other hand stem, cells are cells that are capable of making copies of themselves and can change into other cells as per the requirements of the body.
When does one need a blood cancer bone marrow transplant?
Well, the goal of a bone marrow transplant is to provide new healthy cells into the body to treat several diseases. The doses of chemotherapy or other radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells is so high that it often ends up destroying a person’s healthy bone marrow cells. In such a case a bone marrow transplant is required to rejuvenate those cells. A bone marrow transplant is mainly done to:
- Substitute non-functional bone marrow with healthy cells for conditions like aplastic anemia, leukemia, sickle cell anemia etc.
- Replace original bone marrow, and treat them to restore its original function post-chemotherapy or radiation therapy. This process is termed rescue therapy.
- Regenerate a new immunity system to fight residual or existing leukemia & other types of cancer that cannot be killed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Different types of a bone marrow transplant
Bone marrow transplants are of different types depending on the donor.
- Autologous transplant- Here the patient is the donor who is suffering from blood cancer. Stem cells are extracted from the patient through apheresis or bone marrow harvest. This is a procedure of collecting peripheral blood cells in frozen form. After an extensive treatment on them, these are given back to the patient.
- Allogenic transplant- Here the donor is another person who has the same genetic type as the patient suffering from blood cancer. Stem cell transplant matches are harvested from a genetically matched donor and implanted into the patient.
- Umbilical cord blood transplant- In this procedure, stem cells are extracted from the umbilical just after the delivery. Next, the stem cells automatically mature and reproduce into functioning blood cells. Such stem cells are tested and frozen and kept secured until required for transplant.
How to donate bone marrow is one of the best innovations of medical science that can treat patients suffering from severe diseases. Well there are both risks and benefits associated with blood cancer bone marrow transplant and one must always consult a health care provider or a specialist whether to consider this procedure or not