A bone marrow or stem cell transplant changes unhealthy blood cells for healthy ones. It has the potential to cure blood cell-damaging conditions like lymphoma and leukemia.
Bone marrow, a spongy substance found in the center of several bones, produces special cells called stem cells that can develop into many blood cell types.
Patients with specific malignancies or other disorders may benefit from the particular therapy known as a bone marrow transplant (BMT). A bone marrow transplant entails extracting the normal bone marrow cells, purifying them, and then returning the cells to the donor or another individual.
Defective bone marrow produces insufficient immune system cells and insufficient blood cells. It may lead to several conditions, including malignant cancers.
With the help of a transplant, you can treat such conditions. It also entails a protracted healing period and potential for adverse side effects. You can discuss all the benefits and drawbacks of the transplant with your doctor.
Types of Bone Marrow Transplant
Following are the various types of bone marrow transplant:
“Auto” is nothing but “self.” Before intensive therapy, stem cells are extracted from the patient and kept in the freezer. Your bone marrow cells are injected into the body to create new blood cells after receiving higher doses of therapy. We refer to this as a rescue transplant.
“Allo” is nothing but “other.” Another individual, referred to as a donor, is used to harvest stem cells. The donor’s genes must type at least partially match your DNA. Particular tests are conducted to determine if a donor is an excellent pairing for you.
Most frequently, a brother or sister will make an ideal match. Sometimes, parents, kids, and other relatives make compatible matches. You can discover unrelated but compatible donors with the aid of national bone marrow registries.
Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant
It is an example of an allogeneic transplant. Soon after birth, the umbilical cord of a newborn baby is cut to remove its stem cells. The stem cells are frozen and stored until they are required for a transplant. Since umbilical cord blood cells are so immature, exact matching is not as important. Because there are fewer stem cells, blood counts recover more slowly.
Why Is A Bone Marrow Transplant Done?
Your hematopoietic stem cells are located in your bone marrow. They develop into:
Red blood cells that transport oxygen travels throughout your body.
Immune system-boosting White blood cells.
Platelets cause clotting in the blood.
Having a bone marrow transplant could:
Replace marrow that is ill and unable to produce stem cells independently.
The replacement of stem cells lost during cancer treatment.
To detect and eradicate cancer cells, add donor cells.
A transplant may be necessary if you:
Germ cell cancers
Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
The Procedure Of Bone Marrow Transplant
You’ll commence with a process called conditioning. Usually, a high dose of therapy that may also include radiation is provided for about ten days. Each person’s experience differs based on their present state of health and the illness they are being medicated for.
Following conditioning, your stem cells have more room to develop new cells. Additionally, your immune system is momentarily suppressed to stop your body from defending against living cells.
After a few weeks of rest, you’ll gain extra blood cells via the centralized venous catheter. This will likely wake you up, but it shouldn’t harm you.
Your bone marrow is where the newly formed cells will develop into platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. Engraftment can take two to four weeks to complete.
Side Effects From An Autologous BMT
Numerous adverse reactions after an AUTO transplant are comparable to adverse reactions to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some of them include:
Nausea and Vomiting
Sores in your mouth.
There are some long-term side effects too, some of which include the following:
Side effects from an Allogeneic BMT
A greater risk of infections is one of the potential side effects. Additionally, getting someone else’s stem cells could result in adverse side effects, such as an increased risk of infection and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).
Graft Versus Host Disease
There are two varieties of GVHD:
Acute GVHD: Within the first three months following an ALLO transplant, this type of GVHD manifests itself rather quickly.
Chronic GVHD: After an ALLO transplant, chronic GVHD typically appears more than three months later. It could continue for a few months or your entire life.
The long-term side effects of both include the following:
Preparation for Bone Marrow Transplantation
Cell Collection For A Transplant Of Autologous Bone Marrow
Your surgeon might use a sterile syringe to extract the marrow from your hip. You are unaware because it is done in an operation theatre while asleep. It typically ranges from one to two hours to complete. You have the option of departing that day or the next morning. You may have fatigue and soreness for a few days.
Cell Collection For A Transplant Of Allogeneic Bone Marrow
The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) protein will be linked between you and a patient whose WBCs are similar to yours by your surgeon. The HLA type in your family is a hereditary condition.
Yet if the recipient is a companion or a stranger, the process of receiving bone marrow cells is identical in both cases. If parents give their child’s umbilical cord blood, it will be collected at birth after the cord has been cut and severed.
Recovery from Bone Marrow Transplantation
Although each person’s recovery is different, you will often remain in the hospital for a couple of weeks. You have to take medicines because of your compromised immune system if you want to stay healthy. Additionally, blood transfusions can be necessary.
Your doctors will frequently test your blood during the first several weeks to look for engraftment. For this, they might also collect a tiny sample of your bone marrow.
Some disorders can be cured with a bone marrow transplant, while others can be remission. While the objectives of a bone marrow transplant vary depending on your condition, they typically include disease control or cure, life extension, and quality of life improvement.