Stemcell/Bone Marrow Transplant

Introduction

In bone marrow or stem cell transplant, healthy blood stem cells are transplanted to the damaged or defected bone marrow to produce new blood cells by stimulating the development of new marrow. The bone marrow that produces stem cells may get damaged because of an infection, in case of blood cancer, due to certain childhood diseases, and during chemotherapy as a part of cancer treatment. Bone marrow is a spongy tissue present in your bones. It produces all types of blood cells, including the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.


When is it performed?

A bone marrow transplant is required to restore the production of healthy blood cells in the body. Bone marrow injury due to chemotherapy, specific types of cancers (multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma), and aplastic anemia can warrant the need for a bone marrow transplant. Some of the other reasons for which a bone marrow transplant is conducted include sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and congenital neutropenia.


How is it performed?

Bone marrow transplants are of two types – autologous transplants and allogeneic Transplants. In the case of autologous transplants, healthy stem cells retrieved from the body of the patient are used for transplant. Prior to radiation or chemotherapy treatment, the stem cells are harvested and stored. After the treatment, they are transplanted back into the body. In the case of allogeneic transplants, the healthy stem cells that are a close genetic match between the donor and recipient are taken. If your stems cells have been damaged due to medical conditions, then allogeneic transplant is advised. The stem cells are removed from the donor’s body and put inside the recipient’s body. However, this procedure is riskier as there are chances that your body may reject the foreign stem cells.


Recovery

If you take the stem cells from a donor, then the success of the bone marrow transplant is dependent on how genetically well-matched the donor and the recipient are. At times, finding a good match is not easy. The doctors supervise the condition of the patient after the procedure. Complete recovery may take several months in some patients. If the concentration of white blood cell count increases within a few days, you can assume that new blood cells are being formed in the body.