A bone marrow transplant (BMT) is a special procedure performed to replace either the destroyed or damaged bone marrow with a healthy bone marrow. Bone marrow is soft and fatty tissue present inside the bone, which produces the blood cells.
BMT involves taking the cells usually found in the bone marrow and then giving them back to the patient or another person. BMT aims to transfuse the healthy bone marrow cells into a person after his own unhealthy bone marrow has been treated for killing the abnormal cells.
Various acute and chronic ailments may affect the functioning of the bone marrow and may require bone marrow transplants. Some of the similar conditions are listed below:
This is a cancer which develops in a type of white blood cells.
This is a rare disease which occurs when amyloid (an abnormal protein, usually produced in the bone marrow) is deposited in any tissue or organ and interferes with its normal functions. Depending upon the type of amyloidosis, a bone marrow transplant may be recommended.
Acute or chronic Leukemia
It is a cancer of blood or bone marrow that may eventually need a bone marrow transplant in certain high risk subtypes.
Hodgkin’s or Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
These are the cancer of lymphocytes (type of white blood cell). These lymphocytes play a vital role in the immune system.
This is a rare type of blood cancer where bone marrow is replaced by fibrous scar tissue. Bone marrow transplant is a treatment which might be considered for patients suffering from this medical condition.
Germ cell tumors
These are kinds of tumors where there is growth of cell form from reproductive cells. They are both cancerous or non-cancerous and mainly occur in the ovaries or the testicles.
These disorders lead to abnormally low activity or overactivity of the immune system. An overactivity of the immune system lead the body to attack and damage its own tissues (autoimmune diseases). Low activity of the immune system reduces the body's ability to fight invaders, making it more vulnerable to infections.
Bone marrow failure
Aplastic Anemia or Myelodysplastic syndrome in which the bone marrow is unable to form blood cells.
After cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation
Some patients after receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer, may need a bone marrow transplant.
There are 3 different types of bone marrow transplant:
Autologous bone marrow transplant
This is a type of bone marrow transplant where your own cells are utilized. Before receiving a high dose of radiation or chemotherapy, your cells are removed and stored in the freezer. After receiving radiation or chemotherapy treatments, these cells are put back in your body to help in making normal blood cells. This is also called a rescue transplant.
Allogeneic bone marrow transplant
This is a type of bone marrow transplant where cells are removed from another person (donor). Most times, the genes of the donor must at least partly match your genes. Before initiating the process, some special tests are done to see if a donor is a good match for you. A sibling is most likely to be a good match. However, sometimes children, parents, and other relatives are also suitable matches. In some cases, donors who are not related to you but matches you, are considered.
Umbilical cord blood transplant
This transplant is a type of allogeneic transplant. In this process, cells are removed from a new born baby's umbilical cord right after birth. These cells are frozen and stored until they are needed for a transplant in the future. Umbilical cord blood cells are quite immature, so there is less of a need for perfect matching. Due to the lesser number of cells, blood counts may take much longer to recover.
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