What is a bone marrow stem cell transplant? This guide will take you through the stem cell transplant procedure specific to bone marrow. It’ll also give you forewarning on some stem cell transplant and donation side effects.
What is a Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplant? : A Guide
1. Bone Marrow Basics
Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside a human’s bones. Its significance comes from its blood cell production. Notably, bone marrow also contains hematopoietic stem cells. These cells are extremely important, because they can turn into different kinds of cells. Some examples are bone marrow cells and blood cells.
2. Effects of Chemotherapy
Patients suffering from cancer usually undergo high doses of chemotherapy. Doctors say chemotherapy and radiotherapy help kill the cancer cells and prevent them from spreading throughout the body.
However, chemotherapy not only targets the cancer cells. It also kills healthy stem cells. These are the same cells found in the bone marrow.
3. Receiving Bone Marrow
My baby niece is having her bone marrow transplant today. Pls pray for her and the amazing woman who is donating her bone marrow!💗🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/wTgq6XIKg8
— penny lane🌻 (@cxxm) October 26, 2017
Fortunately, bone marrow transplants are possible. However, a few requirements are crucial. One important requirement is that a donor’s cells have to be as similar as possible to the patient needing the transplant. When done successfully, doctors often refer to this procedure as an allogeneic transplant.
4. Matching Process
A donor’s cells go through a variety of tests. Laboratory staff need to check the proteins found in a donor’s blood cells. They refer to these as the HLA markers or histocompatibility antigens. Each person’s set of proteins is different. The laboratory staff helps make sure that the HLA markers are similar.
5. GVHD Side Effects
— SeattleChildrensNews (@PediatricPulse) September 20, 2017
Bone marrow transplants done without a perfect match can result in a GVHD. GVHD stands for graft versus host disease. This occurs when the donor’s immune cells attack the patient’s blood cells.
Common side effects of GVHD include skin rashes, diarrhea, and liver damage. GVHD can be a serious condition for some patients. This is why most doctors prefer to find donors who match more than 50% of the patient’s cells. Currently, doctors are studying new advances and improvements to help reduce GVHD’s side effects.
6. Donating Bone Marrow
Florence Ivy needed a bone marrow transplant from a stranger. Sunday, she met the donor who saved her. https://t.co/6pBLduUuet
— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) October 30, 2017
Bone marrow harvesting occurs under a general anesthetic. The doctor places a needle through the donor’s skin and into the hip bone. The doctor then collects the bone marrow in a syringe. They repeat this process several times, collecting bone marrow from multiple areas of the pelvis.
7. Side Effects of Donating Bone Marrow
Due to the anesthetic, the donor doesn’t feel anything during the procedure. However, when the donor wakes up, they may feel sleepy, sore, and tired. This effect lasts 1-2 weeks. Doctors advise donors to stay in the hospital for 1-2 nights. In addition to this, bruises may also appear on the body.
Want to know more about a bone marrow stem cell transplant? Press play on the video below:
A bone marrow stem cell transplant can work wonders on a patient. This is especially true if the donor is a high match for the patient. This procedure can provide patients with a chance at regaining their life cancer-free, and that’s something worth looking into further.
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