What Is Bone Marrow Transplant - Types, Procedures, and Risk, by Dr. Abhishek Raj
What is it?
A bone marrow transplant procedure is done in order to replace damaged or defective bone marrow; due to primary bone marrow disease, cancer or high dose chemotherapy. In some cases, it also enables us to give high dose chemotherapy to patients to cure cancer which is otherwise not feasible without the support of bone marrow stem cells (rescue transplant). The procedure entails taking stem cell from blood or bone marrow and transplanting them to the bone marrow where they will then produce healthy blood cells anew which will promote the regrowth of new marrow.
Patients visiting us for bone marrow transplant in Delhi are thoroughly screened before being deemed eligible for a bone marrow transplant.
Bone marrow is a sponge like fatty tissue inside our long bones that produces red blood cell, white blood cells and platelets: all of which are essential for sustaining life.
Bone marrow contains “immature” stem cells that form various blood components, called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Most cells will only make copies of themselves but HSCs are unspecialised, which means they have the potential to multiply through cell division and produce different kinds of blood cells, HSC will make new blood cells throughout your lifespan.
A bone marrow transplant will replace damaged stem cells with healthy cells, and help the body produce sufficient white blood cells, platelets and red blood cells which will then prevent infections, bleeding disorders, or anaemia. Healthy stem cells can be procured from a donor, or from a patient’s own body. Read on to know more.
In case you’re looking for the best bone marrow transplant in Delhi, you can get in touch with us and be rest assured that you’ll be under the aegis of the best bone marrow transplant physicians in Delhi.
Who might require a Bone Marrow Transplant?
Bone marrow transplants are essentially performed when a person’s bone marrow isn’t healthy enough to function properly anymore. This can happen because of blood cancer, defective marrow conditions like aplastic anaemia, thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia. Most patients who come to us seeking bone marrow transplant in Dwarka suffer from
- • aplastic anaemia, a disorder wherein the bone marrow does not make new blood cells
- • cancers that harm the marrow, like leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma
- • Paediatric cancers like neuroblastoma Retinoblastoma PNET.
- • congenital neutropenia, a rare inherited disorder that causes repeated infections
- • sickle cell anaemia, an inherited blood disorder that causes misshapen red blood cells
- • thalassemia, another inherited blood disorder where the body makes an abnormal form of haemoglobin.
Are there any complications that come with a Bone Marrow Transplant?
A bone marrow transplant is a major medical procedure and is associated with certain side effects. These symptoms are usually short term which can be managed with transfusion of blood products, antibiotics and other supportive medicines. A person’s chances of developing such complications depend on a number of factors like age, a person’s overall health, the primary disease transplant, donor-patients mismatch. The complications due to SCT are divided into acute and chronic complications and what is done to prevent/cure it.
This happens due to high dose chemotherapy and usually resolves in 2-3 weeks.
- • Anaemia: Managed with red blood cell transfusion
- • Low Platelet counts and Bleeding – Managed with platelet transfusion
- • Infections – Managed with IV Antibiotics, antivirals and anti-fungal drugs
- • Oral ulcers, decreased oral intake – Managed with analgesics, IV nutrition
- • Diarrhoea
- • Hair Loss: Reversible
- • Graft vs host disease – It happens due to donor cells reactivity against host cells.It can lead to skin rash, diarrhoea, liver failure rarely. It is managed with immunosuppressive drugs
- • Viral infection like Adeno virus, Cytomegalovirus.
- • Graft Rejection
- • Damage to vital organs
Long – Term side effects:
- • Chronic graft vs host disease affecting skin, joints, lung. Mouth etc.
- • Early menopause
- • Loss of fertility
- • Cataract etc.
Remember, not receiving treatment for bone marrow complications is almost certain to considerably shorten a person’s life, and with the guidance of the best oncologists in Delhi on board, we remain confident in the outcome of the process. At the end, the decision should only be made after thorough consultation with a doctor.
The two major types of bone marrow transplants.
The reason behind requiring a bone marrow transplant will determine which kind of transplant a patient will need.
Autologous transplants involve using the person’s own stem cells. It typically involves harvesting the cells before beginning any damaging therapy (to cells) like chemotherapy or radiation. After the treatment is over, the person’s own cells are returned to their body.
This is also a rescue transplant. It enables us to give high dose chemotherapy to cure cancer cells and then restore the functioning of bone marrow by infusion of one’s own stem cells.
An Allogeneic transplant will involve using cells from a donor, but the donor should be a close genetic match. Therefore, compatible relatives are ideal donors, but genetic matches can also be sought out from donor registries. (Matched Unrelated donors).
Allogeneic transplants will be necessary for patients who have a condition that has damaged their bone marrow cells. This usually carries a higher risk of complications.
After Bone Marrow Transplant
The success of all bone marrow transplants primarily depends on how closely the donor and recipient are genetically matched, and at times, it can be rather hard to find a suitable match from unrelated donors.
The typical recovery time from a bone marrow transplant is around3-4 weeks, although it could take up to a year for a full recovery. Recovery will depend on the condition being treated, chemotherapy, radiation, donor, and where the transplant is performed.
A BMT is a major procedure, with its own risk, but there are certain medical conditions for which this is the only ray of hope for a complete cure from the fatal disease. You should make certainly discuss with your bone marrow transplant physician about your disease condition, alternative treatment options, success rates of the procedure and various pros and cons of the procedure.