A Guide to a Bone Marrow Transplant

29 Dec,20

Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) is a revolutionary medical procedure in which unhealthy stem cells from the bone marrow (semi-solid tissue found within the spongy portions of our bones) are replaced by healthy ones. It can potentially counter the blood damage done by diseases, infections and chemotherapy. During the transplant, a BMT specialist introduces healthy blood stem cells in an affected body that contains damaged stem cells. The stem cells are extracted from the blood using a cell separator.

Following are the blood cells produced by the stem cells in our bone marrow:

1. White Blood Cells (WBCs): These are instrumental to combating infections in our body. They act as our natural defense mechanism to eradicate harmful entities & build up our immunity. 

2. Red Blood Cells (RBCs): These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body, to ensure proper functioning of our organs.

3. Platelets: When one suffers from bleeding or a blood vessel injury, platelets are those cells in the blood that enable blood clotting by clumping. This helps to control bleeding & avoid excess loss of blood. 

During the BMT procedure, healthy blood stem cells of the donor are given to the patient and then these cells:

  • Travel to the patient’s bone marrow 

  • Multiply in the bloodstream, to support the existing damaged stem cells 

  • Form White Blood Cells (WBCs), Red Blood Cells (RBCs) and Platelets

Bone Marrow Transplant is a complex medical procedure as it involves a deeper understanding of the patient’s condition as well as a search for the right donor. Just like any other transplant, the donor plays a very crucial role for successful outcomes after a BMT. It is thus recommended to consult a trusted BMT specialist about the best suited type of transplant. 

The types of Bone Marrow Transplants are as follows:

1. Autologous Transplants

In Autologous Transplants, healthy blood stem cells from the patient's own body are used for replacing the diseased or damaged bone marrow stem cells. According to BMT specialists, autologous transplant is the safest procedure as it eradicates the compatibility issue between donor's stem cells and recipient's stem cells.  

When an autologous transplant is not an option, an allogeneic transplant is recommended.

2. Allogeneic Transplants

In an Allogeneic Transplant, stem cells are taken from the closest-matching donor and introduced to the patient’s bloodstream. Allogeneic Transplants are of 3 types.

  1. Related Donor Transplant: The donor is the closest-matching relative such as siblings or identical twins.

  2. Matched Unrelated Donor Transplant: The donor is the closest-match from the bone marrow transplant hospital’s donor registry.

  3. Half Matched Family Donor Transplant: The donor is the closest-matching family member such as parents or children.

The BMT specialist recommends the type of transplant depending on the condition and the requirement of the patient. This is a suitable treatment option for various types of conditions including Bone Marrow Failures, Certain Blood Cancers & Blood Disorders

Bone Marrow Transplants is a treatment solution for:

  • Blood cancers such as Leukemias and Lymphomas

  • Bone marrow failures such as anemia and alopecia 

  • Inherited immune system disorders such as immunodeficiency

  • Hemoglobinopathies, such as sickle cell disease

  • Inherited metabolic diseases

  • Myelodysplastic syndromes

  • Plasma cell disorders such as multiple myeloma

A Bone Marrow Transplant can either cure the patient completely or help manage the same, so that one can reduce their dependency on Chemotherapy and have a better quality of life. The outcome for each BMT depends on an individual’s condition or situation. The important thing to remember is to stay tough, stay strong and fight the disease together. With the right care, expert guidance & support, a Bone Marrow Transplant can act as a curative solution for various diseases as well. 

At Sarvodaya Hospital & Research Centre, Sector-8, Faridabad, we have a team of experts who are well-equipped to handle rare & complex procedures, while employing the most advanced technology for quick & safe treatment during BMTs. Get in touch with our specialists, to know more.