The hip and thigh bone comprises a spongy substance which contains stem cells. This substance is known as Bone Marrow. A bone marrow transplant or a stem cell transplant is the removal of damaged or destroyed bone marrow and replacing it with healthy blood-forming stem cells.
The stem cells are responsible for forming the red blood cells, the white blood cells and the platelets in the body. The transplant enables your body to make healthy RBC, WBC and platelets, while keeping infections, anaemia and bleeding disorders at bay.
But, Why do you need a Bone Marrow Transplants?
There are tests to identify if the bone marrow is not healthy to function optimally. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor may recommend a bone marrow transplant. Some medical problems which indicate a bone marrow transplant are
- Aplastic anaemia: In this, the bone marrow stops making new blood cells
- Cancers like Acute and Chronic Leukemia, Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, Neuroblastoma
- Congenital Neutropenia: An inherited defect which causes reoccurring infections
- Immune deficiencies
- Plasma Cell Disorders
- Bone Marrow damage due to Chemotherapy
- Thalassemia: This condition involves the formation of Abnormal haemoglobin made by the cells
What are the types of Stem Cell Transplants?
One must select the type of stem cell transplant after gathering and understanding all the necessary information. The different types of bone marrow transplant are
- Autologous Transplant: Auto means self. The transplant uses the stem cell of the patient itself.
- Allogeneic Transplant: The transplant uses cells from a donor. The best donor in such conditions is the immediate siblings of the patients or their immediate family.
- Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant: This kind of transplant uses cells from a stem cell back after rigorous matching. The cells can also be taken from an umbilical cord, immediately after the baby’s birth.
So, How do you select the right method and centre for your bone marrow transplant?
A detailed discussion with the doctor will be the need of the hour. The doctor decides on the type of transplant based on the patient’s condition, diseases, age and other factors. Some non-medical point to keep in mind before finalising the centre is
- Who will care for the patient during the treatment?
- How long will the patient be away from their job and family responsibilities?
- How will the patient pay for the treatment and will insurance include the treatment?
- Who will cater to your appointment needs?
Once all these aspects are discussed and clear, then should the patient get admitted and go ahead with the transplant process.
There are some precautionary measures associated with the Stem Cell or Bone marrow transplant. To know more, read the article by Dr Nitin Sood, Associate Director, Medical and Haemato Oncology, Cancer Institute at Medanta The Medicity
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