a bone marrow transplant is a medical procedure. this is a type of treatment where the bone marrow in your body is replaced by healthy cells. the cells that are used for replacement are taken from your own body or they are taken from a donor.
a stem cell transplant is another term used to refer to a bone marrow transplant. specifically, it is known as a hematopoietic stem cell transfer. there are certain types of cancers such as myeloma, leukaemia, and lymphoma that can be treated with a bone marrow transplant. other blood and immune system diseases that affect the bone marrow are also treated with a bone marrow transplant.
the procedure of bone marrow transplant involves infusing healthy blood-forming stem cells into your body. these healthy stem cells replace all the damaged or diseased bone marrow in your body. if your bone marrow stops working for some reason and halts the production of adequate healthy red blood cells, then a bone marrow transplant is required.
introduction to bone marrow and stem cells
there are some special cells in our body known as stem cells. these cells can make copies of themselves and have the ability to change into many separate kinds of cells that are needed by your body. there are many different kinds of stem cells. each type of stem cell is found in different parts of your body at different times.
cancer and cancer treatment targets the cells in your body. they specifically can damage your hematopoietic stem cells. stem cells that have the ability to turn into blood cells are known as hematopoietic stem cells.
the soft, spongy tissue in our body which contains the hematopoietic stem cells is known as the bone marrow. the location of the bone marrow in the centre of each bone. the blood that is moving throughout our body also contains hematopoietic stem cells.
red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are not formed from hematopoietic stem cells if they are damaged. the three types of blood cells are very important to our system and each of them has a separate job. they are as follows:-
red blood cells- their main job is to carry oxygen throughout the body. along with transporting oxygen, they also move the carbon dioxide to your lungs so that it can be exhaled.
white blood cells- they are the main constituents of our immune system. their main job is to fight pathogens. pathogens are bacteria and viruses that have the ability to make you ill.
platelets- platelets are related to the formation of blood clots.
through the medical procedure of bone marrow or stem cell transplant, healthy stem cells are transplanted into the bone marrow or the blood. this helps in restoring the body’s ability to create red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets whenever it is required.
types of bone marrow transplant
there are mainly two types of bone marrow transplants. they are as follows:-
allogeneic stem cell transplant- the procedure of allogeneic stem cell transplant involves the use of healthy blood stem cells to replace the diseased or damaged bone marrow. the healthy blood stem cells are obtained from a healthy donor and used for the transplant. the allogeneic stem cell transfer is also referred to as the allogeneic bone marrow transplant.
the donor can be anyone, it can be a family member, an acquaintance, or it could also be any stranger. these are the types of blood stem cells that are used in an allogeneic stem cell transplant:-
the blood is collected from the donor.
the stem cell was collected from the bone marrow of the donor’s hipbone.
the stem cells are collected from any umbilical cord that is donated.
collected from the blood of a donated umbilical cord.
the body needs to be prepared first before undergoing an allogeneic stem cell transplant. high doses of chemotherapy and radiation are received by the patient before undergoing an allogeneic stem cell transplant. this is done to damage the diseased cells before the body is ready to receive the donor cells
autologous stem cell transplant- in an autologous stem cell transplant, healthy blood stem cells from the patient’s own body are used to replace the damaged and diseased bone marrow in your body. an autologous stem cell transplant is also known as an autologous bone marrow transplant.
the method of autologous stem cell transplant offers some advantages over allogeneic stem cell transplant. this is because the stem cells are used from your own body. this is because, in this case, you do not need to worry about the incompatibility between the cells of the donor and the receiver.
if your body is continuously producing enough healthy bone marrow cells, then you can easily undergo an autologous stem cell transplant. the healthy stem cells from your body can be collected, frozen, and then stored to be used later.
why is bone marrow transplant required?
the uses of bone marrow transplants could be related to these:-
this allows the safe treatment of your condition by using radiation or chemotherapy. then the bone marrow replacement therapy replaces all the cells that are damaged due to the radiation.
new stem cells replace all the damaged and diseased bone marrow.
the new stem cells that are provided can help kill cancer cells directly.
people can benefit from bone marrow transplants in a variety of ways. people with both cancerous and non-cancerous diseases can benefit from a bone marrow transplant. these are some of the diseases that can benefit from bone marrow transplants:-
bone marrow failure syndromes
inborn errors of metabolism
plasma cell disorders
what are the risks of bone marrow transplant?
numerous risks are posed by a bone marrow transplant. some people get away with a bone marrow transplant with minimal complications or no complications. some people can also face some serious complications with a bone marrow transplant. and in rare cases, the complications could also be life-threatening. the particular risks that a person faces depend on many different factors. this includes the type of disease or condition that makes you require a transplant, your age and your medical history.
possible complications from a bone marrow transplant include:
graft-versus-host disease (allogeneic transplant only)
stem cell (graft) failure
your doctor will explain the risks you might face if you undergo a bone marrow transplant. you can discuss the risks of your bone marrow transplant with your doctor and decide on it.
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