Bone marrow transplantation is a procedure to restore stem cells that get destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. There are mainly three types of bone marrow transplants.
In autologous transplant the patient receives his own stem cells. In syngetic transplant the patient receives stem cells from his identical twin. In allogenic transplant the patient receives stem cells from brother, sister, parent or an unrelated person.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used to treat cancer. Cancer cells have the property to divide rapidly in comparison with healthy cells. As bone marrow cells also divide rapidly, the high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy a patient undergoes for treatment of cancer can cause damage or destroy the patient’s bone marrow. In the absence of a healthy bone marrow the patient is unable to produce blood cells required to carry oxygen, fight infection and prevent bleeding. Bone marrow transplant is used in such cases to replace stem cells lost due to cancer treatment.
Bone marrow transplantation is commonly used for treatment of leukemia and lymphoma cases. It is very effective when the symptoms of leukemia and lymphoma have disappeared in the patient. Bone marrow transplant is also used in other cancer cases such as neuroblastoma or multiple myeloma. Clinical trials are being conducted to evaluate the use of bone marrow transplant in many other forms of cancer.
When the stem cells from a healthy donor are transplanted in the patient, they travel to the bone marrow and they start producing new white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. This process is known as engraftment. It takes two to four weeks for the engraftment to take place after transplantation.
More Articles :