Tuesday , March 21 2023
bone marrow transplant

Bone Marrow Transplant For Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is determined by the production of red blood cells with a lesser content of haemoglobin. As many of you might know that the bone marrow produces red blood cells. The replacement of defective bone marrow with the bone marrow producing normal blood cells is what doctors do during the transplant.

The bone marrow transplant cost in India alters depending on the location and type of treatment. The medical treatments and surgeries in India are known across the world. The hospitals incorporate the best treatment methods for sickle cell disease.

Know the overall details and relative descriptions in this blog.

Know What is Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is a type of genetic disorder that comprises sickle-shaped red blood cells which have a shorter life span. Usually, the blood cells are discoidal in shape which carries oxygen due to haemoglobin and flows through small blood vessels.

The blood cells in sickle cell disorder are abnormal sickle-shaped, sticky, and do not move within blood vessels properly. This leads to a shorter life span of blood cells which causes deficiency of blood in your body. 

Signs and Symptoms

Since the disease is hereditary, the signs and symptoms are present in a child since birth. But they are not visible until the child becomes 5-6 months old. After that, the symptoms slowly start to appear.

  • Yellowish body colour due to lack of blood
  • Weaker health and appearance
  • Stress
  • Swelling, tenderness, and redness in hands and feet
  • Frequent chances of infection
  • Anaemia
  • Delayed growth during early stages
  • Joint pain
  • Eyesight problems

Causes of Sickle Cell Disorder

Sickle cell disease is mainly caused due to mutated gene which is passed on from either one of the parents or both the parents. The mutated gene results in abnormal production of red blood cells which appear sickle shape, sticky, and rigid that do not flow properly in blood.

A person having sickle disease inherits mutated genes from both parents. If you inherit a single mutated gene from either one of your parents, there is a chance that you might develop a sickle cell trait.

 A person having sickle cell trait has both normal and mutated genes. There is a chance that a person can pass on the mutated genes to their offspring.

Bone marrow transplant Overview

Sickle cell disease is characterized by abnormal haemoglobin production which causes abnormality to the red blood cells. Earlier there was no cure for this disease until the modified scientific approaches took place.

The stem cell or bone marrow transplant is one such curative method in which the doctors or surgeons will replace your bone marrow with the bone marrow from the donor which has the capacity of producing normal blood cells. This technique is known as bone marrow transplant.

The transplant procedure has been successful in many countries including India and the patients reveal to have multiple beneficiary effects post-treatment. 

The 87% of patients who underwent treatment, experienced reduced consumption of narcotics, painkillers, and immunosuppressants which otherwise can cause severe side effects.

The red blood cells production slowly increases and the side effects are less in many cases. 

Bone marrow transplant Procedure 

Stem Cell Transplant for Sickle Cell Disease infographics 1 1

The bone marrow transplant procedure is usually advisable for children below age 16. As the child goes older, it is difficult to perform transplant procedures on adults as it associates greater risks and challenges. So, the procedure is not usually recommendable for adults but the research in this area is still going on.

Transplant procedure:

  • Examining and evaluation

First of all, your doctor will examine your body and record the status regarding the blood flow, blood cell production, symptoms, etc. This is the preparation before the actual procedure.

The doctors perform it to know whether the treatment will be going to efficiently work on the patient. If the examination goes well, the doctors recommend the type of treatment procedure.

The doctor will also extract some blood to determine the HLA matching. It is a crucial step in any type of transplant.

If the HLA from the patient’s body matches the HLA extracted from the donor’s body, then only doctors can initiate the transplant procedure.

  • Immunosuppression

The doctors will provide medications to suppress the immune system so that it will not act aggressively and reject the transplant during or after the procedure.

  • Removal of bone marrow from patient’s body

After suppressing the immune system, the doctors extract the bone marrow from the patient’s body to replace it with the healthy cells of the donor.

  • Extraction of healthy bone marrow from doner 

The doctor extracts the bone marrow from the donor’s body the inserts it inside the patient’s body.

  • Post-treatment medications and observation

After some time, the replaced bone marrow starts to produce healthy red blood cells, and the patient exhibits a sufficient amount of blood in the body. However, there can be few side effects after the transplant.  The patients need to be in consistent contact with their doctor and follow the instructions as per their doctor’s advice. 

Types of Bone marrow transplant

There are two types of bone marrow transplant procedures which are based on the type of donor who donates the stem cells or bone marrow.

  • Autologous bone marrow transplant

Auto means self. The doctors will extract stem cells from the part of the patient’s body itself. After extraction, the cells are frozen for some time. Meanwhile, the patient experiences the treatments like chemo or radiation therapy. After a while, the doctor transfers the bone marrow into the patient’s body. The benefit of having an autologous transplant is that the immune system will not treat it as a foreign substance as the donor and patient are the same in this case.

  • Allogenic bone marrow transplant

In an allogeneic bone marrow transplant, a donor is a different person whose HLA matches that of the patient via a blood test. The more suitable donor could be one of your family members. The best benefit for an allogeneic transplant is that the chances of recovery are greater. But sometimes, the patient might face problems like graft rejection and aggressive immune response days after the treatment.

Bone marrow transplant Cost in India 

The medical treatments in India have shown prominent efforts in treating many problems. Many people from outside the country come to India for taking the respective treatments. There are multiple renowned hospitals, clinics, and therapeutic transplant centers in India which ensure effective bone marrow transplant treatment to their patients. The treatments are also affordable and oddly satisfying.

The bone marrow transplant cost in India starts from 20,000 USD. The actual cost depends on various factors such as the location of the transplant center, type of treatment, and additional requirements. However, the cost range is approximately the same in many centers.

Post-Treatment Precautions

After the transplant treatment, the immune system of the body becomes quite weaker than before. As such, the patient needs to acquire proper nutrition and care. The doctor can provide some medications and antibiotics to reduce the possible side effects and for strengthening the immune response.


The bone marrow transplant has turned out to be a life-changing experience as many people claim. There can be multiple real-life examples that exhibit successful treatment stories.  If you still have any doubts regarding the treatment, clear your doubts and concerns with your respective doctors regarding the transplant treatment.