Bone marrow transplant – Doctor NDTV

By JoanneRUSSELL25

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Bone marrow transplant is a procedure in which healthy bone marrow is transplanted into a patient whose bone marrow is not functioning properly. Problems in bone marrow are often caused by chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer. This procedure can also be done to correct hereditary blood diseases. The healthy bone marrow may be taken from the patient prior to chemotherapy or radiation treatment (autograft), or it may be taken from a donor (allograft).

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Bone marrow is the soft, sponge-like material found inside bones. It contains immature cells called stem cells that produce blood cells. There are three types of blood cells: white blood cells, which fight infection; red blood cells, which carry oxygen to and from organs and tissues; and platelets, which enable the blood to clot.

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Alternatively, hereditary or acquired disorders may cause abnormal blood cell production. In these cases, transplantation of healthy bone marrow may save a patient's life. Transplanted bone marrow will restore production of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Donated bone marrow must match the patient's tissue type. It can be taken from the patient, a living relative (usually a brother or a sister), or from an unrelated donor. Donors are matched through special blood tests called HLA tissue typing.

Bone marrow is taken from the donor in the operating room while one is unconscious and pain-free (under general anaesthesia). Some of the donor's bone marrow is removed from the top of the hip bone. The bone marrow is filtered, treated, and transplanted immediately or frozen and stored for later use. Then, transplant material is transfused into the patient through a vein and is naturally transported back into the bone cavities where it grows to replace the old bone marrow.

Alternatively, blood cell precursors, called stem cells, can be induced to move from the bone marrow to the blood stream using special medications. These stem cells can then be taken from the bloodstream through a procedure called leukapheresis.

The patient is prepared for transplantation by administering high doses of chemotherapy or radiation (conditioning). This serves two purposes. First, it destroys the patient's abnormal blood cells or cancer. Second, it inhibits the patient's immune response against the donor bone marrow (graft rejection).

Following conditioning, the patient is ready for bone marrow infusion. After infusion, it takes 10 to 20 days for the bone marrow to establish itself. During this time, the patient requires support with blood cell transfusions.

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

The major problem with bone marrow transplants (when the marrow comes from a donor, not the patient) is graft-versus-host disease. The transplanted healthy bone marrow cells may attack the patient's cells as though they were foreign organisms. In this case, drugs to suppress the immune system must be taken, but this also decreases the body's ability to fight infections.

Other significant problems with a bone marrow transplant are those of all major organ transplants - finding a donor and the cost. The donor is usually a sibling with compatible tissue. The more siblings the patient has, the more chances there are of finding a compatible donor.

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

The patient will require attentive follow-up care for 2 to 3 months after discharge from the hospital. It may take 6 months to a year for the immune system to fully recover from this procedure.

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Bone marrow transplant - Doctor NDTV

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