We all have heard about bone marrow transplantation at some point in our life but we have no idea how difficult is the life for one who actually need this transplant. I have decided to share information regarding how this process is performed and what sorts of patient needs this transplant. I have tried my best to keep this blog in simple words so that even a layman can understand.
WHAT IS BONE MARROW?
Bone marrow is a soft tissue which is present in most of our long bones. It is of two types; Red marrow and yellow marrow. Red marrow is composed of blood stem cells (STEM CELLS are unique types of cells in our body which has the ability to transform into any specialized types of cells depending upon the environment in which they are grown, if they are grown on hard rigid surfaces they will become bone cells and so on, at the same time they renew themselves as well). Blood stem cells are transformed into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Whereas yellow marrow is transformed into bone, fat and cartilage and they provide the right environment that blood needs to function properly.
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRE66xj9y3FNVqfeoOU5dt_hN3dGK8VX9eHSQ&usqp= WHEN AND WHY A PATIENT NEED BMT?
Now the question arises is when someone need bone marrow transplantation.. There are a lot of diseases and condition in which one needs a BMT. Like, sometimes chemotherapy or radiation therapy done to cure cancer can destroy person’s stem cells. The disorders of red blood cells includes Thalassemia, Aplastic anemia and many others. Similarly, we have white blood cells disorders which include Leucopenia ( decreased production of WBCs) and Leukocytosis (increased production of WBCS), they have further many types and depending upon the malignancy BMT is performed, luckily some of the types can be treated without transfusion therapy.
TYPES OF BMT:
This procedure has two type: AUTOLOGOUS; in which persons own healthy stem cells are collected from the blood or bone (from hip bone) and then given back to patient after treatment.
ALLOGENEIC: in which donors stem cells are given to patient after treatment.
Stem cells are separated by the use of Apheresis machine, which is a very simple procedure.
HOW IT IS PERFORMED?
Now I will explain a bit of detail about the procedure. The healthy stem cells are collected first from either patients own body or from donor. Then, by the use of chemotherapy, cancerous cells are eradicated from the body. After the complete treatment healthy bone marrow is transfused to the patient but before transfusion immunosuppressants are given so that patient’s immune system won’t fight against the donor’s immune system if it is an Allogeneic procedure.
Doubtlessly this is a life saving procedure but still it comes with major risks. In case of Allogeneic procedure, there is a risk of Graft Versus Host Disease, this condition occur when donors stem cells which make up your new immune system sees your body tissues and organs as foreign and eventually attack them which can lead to organ damage, development of new cancer, infections and eventually death.
I just gave the overview of the topic, I didn’t explain in detail but if you have any questions in your mind after reading ask them out, I would love to answer you people.