Bone Marrow & Stem Cell Transplant
What is bone marrow transplantation?
Bone marrow transplantation, or stem cell transplant, is a medical procedure to replace damaged or diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells. Bone marrow is a critical tissue within our bones, responsible for producing blood cells, including red blood cells (for oxygen transport), white blood cells (for immune defense), and platelets (for blood clotting). These cells originate from hematopoietic progenitor cells within the bone marrow.
Sources of Stem Cells for Transplantation
While bone marrow is a primary source, stem cells for transplantation can also be derived from peripheral and umbilical cord blood. These stem cells are essential for generating new, healthy blood cells.
Indications for Bone Marrow Transplantation
Bone marrow transplantation is considered when the bone marrow is not functioning correctly due to disease or damage, preventing the production of healthy blood cells. It is a treatment option for various conditions, including:
Blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma
Bone marrow diseases like aplastic anemia and myelodysplasia
Other cancers requiring treatments that damage the bone marrow
Types of Bone Marrow Transplantation
Autologous Transplantation: Uses the patient's stem cells, avoiding the issue of tissue compatibility. It's commonly used before a patient undergoes chemotherapy or radiotherapy, with the harvested cells being stored and later reinfused to replace damaged marrow.
Allogeneic Transplantation: Involves using stem cells from a tissue-matched donor, which could be a relative or unrelated. This type requires a high degree of tissue compatibility to reduce the risk of complications.
Procedure and Preparations
APre-transplant evaluations are crucial to assess the suitability and prepare the patient for transplantation. This includes comprehensive health assessments to identify and treat any potential risks. Preparation also involves stimulating stem cell production and harvesting these cells for transplantation.
Risks and Complications
Bone marrow transplantation carries risks, such as infection, graft-versus-host disease, and complications from chemotherapy. However, meticulous planning and monitoring aim to minimize these risks.
Postoperative Care and Outcomes
After transplantation, close monitoring is essential for managing complications and ensuring the new stem cells engraft and produce healthy blood cells. The procedure's success depends on various factors, including the patient's condition and the match quality of the donated stem cells.
Bone marrow transplantation is a complex but potentially life-saving procedure for patients with certain severe diseases. The process involves thorough preparation, the transplant procedure itself, and diligent post-transplant care to ensure the best possible outcome. The multidisciplinary team at Medicana Health Group is equipped with the expertise and technology to support patients through this journey toward recovery.