What is a Bone Marrow Transplant?

What is a Bone Marrow Transplant?

A bone marrow transplant is a medical procedure that uses healthy cells to replace your bone marrow. The replacement cells may come from a donor or from your own body. A hematopoietic stem cell transplant, or simply a stem cell transplant, is another name for a bone marrow transplant. Leukemia, myeloma, lymphoma, and other blood and immune system disorders that damage the bone marrow can all be treated by transplantation.

What are stem cells? What is bone marrow?

Special cells known as stem cells have the capacity to multiply and transform into the various cell types that your body requires. Different types of stem cells can be discovered in various regions of the body at various times. Your hematopoietic stem cells can suffer damage from cancer and cancer treatment. The stem cells that develop into blood cells are known as hematopoietic stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the body's soft, spongy bone marrow tissue. The majority of bones include it in the middle. There are hematopoietic stem cells in the blood that circulates throughout your body as well. Hematopoietic stem cells may not develop into red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets when they are injured.

These blood cells are very important and each one has a different job:

Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. They also take carbon dioxide to your lungs so that it can be exhaled.

White blood cells are a part of your immune system. They fight pathogens, which are the viruses and bacteria that can make you sick.

Platelets form clots to stop bleeding.

Healthy stem cells are put into your bone marrow or blood during a bone marrow/stem cell transplant operation. Your body's capacity to produce the necessary amounts of platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells is restored as a result.

What are the different types of transplant?

There are different types of bone marrow/stem cell transplants. The 2 main types are:

Autologous transplant

Your body provides the stem cells for an autologous transplant. Radiation therapy or high-dose chemotherapy may occasionally be used to treat cancer. Your immune system and stem cells may suffer side effects from this form of treatment. For this reason, before starting the cancer treatment, doctors extract or rescue your stem cells from your blood or bone marrow. Following chemotherapy, your body receives its stem cells back, reviving your immune system and enabling your body to make blood cells and fight infection. This procedure is also known as a stem cell rescue or an AUTO transplant.

Allogenic transplant

An allogenic transplant uses donor stem cells, which are obtained from another individual. Following chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, the patient receives stem cells from the donor. The ALLO transplant is another name for this. During an ALLO transplant, many people experience a "graft-versus-cancer cell impact." At this point, the newly formed stem cells identify and eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the body. The primary method by which ALLO transplants combat cancer is in this manner. A prerequisite for an ALLO transplant is locating a "donor match." A healthy donor who is a match will have blood proteins called human leukocyte antigens (HLA) that closely resemble your own. HLA typing is the name of this technique. The ideal match is frequently between siblings who have the same parents, but it can also be between another family member or an unrelated volunteer. You are less likely to get graft-versus-host disease, a dangerous adverse effect, if your donor's proteins closely match your own (GVHD). In this situation, your cells are attacked by the transplant's healthy cells.

There are additional choices if your medical team is unable to match a donor with a patient.

Umbilical cord blood transplant

Umbilical cord blood stem cells are employed in this kind of transplant. Before birth, a fetus and its mother are connected by the umbilical cord. The baby no longer requires it after birth. Worldwide cancer treatment facilities use cord blood. Find out more about transplanting cord blood.

Parent-child transplant and haplotype mismatched transplant.

Although they are not always a 100% match, cells from a patient's sibling, sister, father, or kid are usually a 50% match. These kinds of transplants are being performed increasingly frequently by doctors in an effort to increase the effectiveness of transplantation as a cancer treatment.

How does a bone marrow/stem cell transplant work?

The main procedures for both AUTO and ALLO transplants are described in the information below. Each procedure typically starts with the collection of replacement stem cells, followed by therapies the patient receives to get their body ready for the transplant, the actual transplant day, and finally the recuperation phase.Often, a little tube is inserted into the patient's chest and stays there throughout the transplant procedure. It's known as a catheter. Through a catheter, your medical staff can provide chemotherapy, other drugs, and blood transfusions to you. Since patients may require frequent blood tests and other treatments while receiving a transplant, a catheter significantly minimizes the number of needles required in the skin.

Please be aware that transplants are intricate medical operations, and in order to provide for your unique needs, some steps may occasionally take place out of sequence or on a different schedule. Find out from your doctor if and how long you will need to stay in the hospital for each phase. Always discuss what to anticipate before, during, and after your transplant with your medical team.