Bone marrow Stem Cells Transplant
Bone marrow stem cells transplant is used to treat certain types of cancers. Stem cells are young cells, generated in bone marrow. Stem cells are vital part of our body as they generate various kinds of blood cells. Blood cells carry oxygen to the different parts of our body and hence stem cells are so important.
Need Bone marrow stem cells transplant makes patient capable to accept high chemotherapy doses. Cancer cells divide fast than normal cells. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy targets cell division. The process usually involves destruction of bone marrow. After destruction, bone marrow is not capable of producing new blood cells.
Criteria for transplant
The transplant can be achieved in various ways. Some of the types of transplants are:
- Hodgkin's disease
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Chronic myeloid leukemia
- Germ cell tumors
- Acute myeloid leukemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Antilogous transplant (receiving own stem cells), collects person's own cells before high dose therapy. They are stored properly and placed in the body.
- Syngeneric transplant (receiving stem cells from their identical twin).
- Allogenetic transplants (receiving stem cells from brother, sister, or parent). In this type of transplant, success depends on how well donor and receiver stem cell HLA antigen matches. A non related donor may be used in this case.
- Most commonly, treatment for leukemia and lymphoma uses bone marrow stem cells transplant. Bone marrow transplant can also be used for treating multiple myeloma and neuroblastomas.
Procedure Bone marrow is obtained by the process of harvesting, which takes about an hour. In this process general anesthesia is used. If regional anesthesia is used, then sensations below waist are lost. Over pelvic (hip) or rarely in stemum (breastbone) needles are inserted through skin. The marrow is drowned out of bone. It is then processed to remove blood and bone particles. They are kept alive by using some kinds of preservatives. With this cryopreserved technique, cells can remain active for many years. These mature cells produce muscle, bone, cartilage, bone, fat, tendons. In the demonstration at various centers, these cells are isolated from bone marrow. Afterwards they are transferred into cell cultures. Encouragement is given for reproduction and growth of these cells. How these cells are useful into cell therapy, tissue engineering, and gene therapy is a part of beginning research.
Patient receives stem cells with intravenous line like blood transfusion. The entire procedure takes almost 1 to 5 hours for completion.
Result Cells go to bone marrow and starts reproduction after transplant. This process is known as engraftment. It occurs within 2-4 weeks. Process completion takes time as per the type. With further blood tests, doctor monitors number of various blood cells and the reoccurrence of cancer.
Patient may come across adverse effects as the process is unbearable. In typical conditions, patients go through total body irradiation or chemotherapy to remove cancer before stem cell transplants.
ConsiderationSide effects There is a major risk of infection and bleeding due to high dose cancer treatment. Antibodies are used to prevent infection. Transfusions of platelets are given to prevent the bleeding and for treating anemia red blood cells.
Some short term side effects associated with the transplant are nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, mouth sores, skin reactions and hair loss.
Some long term risks complications of the pretransplant chemotherapy, and radiotherapy as infertility, secondary cancers, cataracts and kidney, liver, heart, and lung damage.
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