Bone Marrow Transplantation, or BMT is a procedure that is undertaken to introduce healthy bone marrow stem cells as a replacement for the damaged bone marrow. The soft fatty tissue inside the bone is termed as bone marrow. New blood cells are created from certain immature cells that reside in the bone marrow, and these immature cells are known as stem cells.
When does Bone Marrow Transplantation become necessary?
Diseases of the like thalassemia, aplastic anemia, leukemia, and so forth can be treated with BMT. Cancers like Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and so forth can be treated with BMT. Certain childhood cancers like sarcomas, neuroblastoma, and so forth too can be treated using BMT.
Types of BMT
Autologus Bone Marrow Transplant involves recovering stem cells from the body of the patient being treated. After the stem cells are recovered the patient is subjected to a high dose of chemotherapy. Once the chemotherapy sessions are completed, the stem cells are introduced back to the person’s body in an intravenous manner.
Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant involves obtaining the required stem cells for treatment from a donor. The donor, in this case, must have a genetic match with the patient being treated. In this regard, the usual stem donors are the patient’s siblings, or a person with whom the patient has a very good genetic match. The genetic match is established after conduction of numerous blood tests.
The benefits of BMT
There are many factors that determines how healthy the treated patient becomes post the BMT treatment. These factors include the type of BMT used, the percentage of match that was achieved between the patient and donor stem cells, the type of cancer that the patient was affected with, and also upon the age and the general health condition of the patient. BMT has the capability of completely curing a disease, or sometimes the disease could be brought under control. Depending on how successful the BMT treatment is the patient can get back to his or her regular chore in a few months, or sometimes in a year’s time.
Are there any complications associated with Bone Marrow Transplantation?
The complications that may emerge following BMT depends on many factors including the diseases the patient has, the age of the patient, the present health conditions of the patient. It also depends on the treatments that were undertaken prior to BMT including chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. The complications will also have a relation to the amount of match established with the donor’s stem cells, and also upon the type of BMT used, whether auto or allogenic. The complications that are generally seen includes the patient becoming susceptible to infections, the patient developing anemia, or bleeding, the patient may experience soreness in his or her mouth, stomach, throat, and food pipe, the patient’s vital organs like kidneys, heart, lungs, and liver may face damage, there may arise an instance of graft failure, and so forth.
Cancer institutes that are capable of conducting BMT treatments have with them the required laboratory infrastructure to harvest stem cells. They also have with them a well stocked blood bank. The other supportive facilities they have with them includes the pathology and microbiology departments.