Why Bone Marrow Transplant? To save and increase our life. Before thinking, why bone marrow transplant? One should know, What is it actually?
It is a medical procedure performed to replace bone marrow that has been damaged or destroyed by disease, infection or chemotherapy. In short, BMT replaces unhealthy marrow with a healthy one. Are you wondering what is bone marrow actually and what is its function?
So, here is the answer: Bone marrow is the spongy, fatty tissue inside our bones. Its functions are nothing but to create red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in the blood. It also contains immature blood-forming stem cells known as hematopoietic stem cells or HSCs.
BMT includes two major types of transplants -Autologous Transplants which involve the use of a person’s own stem cells. Allogeneic Transplants which involve the use of cells from a donor. The type used will depend on the reason you need a transplant. Autologous transplants typically involve harvesting your cells before beginning a damaging therapy to cells like chemotherapy or radiation.
After the treatment is done, your own cells are returned to your body. This type of transplant isn’t always available. It can only be used if you have healthy bone marrow. However, it reduces the risk of some serious complications, including (GVHD) Graft-versus-host disease which is a condition where donor cells attack your body. Allogeneic transplants involve the use of cells from a donor. The donor must be a close genetic match.
Often, a compatible relative is the best choice, but genetic matches can also be found from a donor registry. The success of an allogeneic transplant depends on how closely the donor cells match your own. If a person needs to do bone marrow transplant for himself he will undergo several tests to discover what type of bone marrow cells he needs. He may also undergo radiation or chemotherapy to kill off all cancer cells or marrow cells before he gets the new stem cells.
As a donor, you must have healthy stem cells. Those healthy cells are then stored and used in transplantation. A bone marrow transplant is not a one day therapy neither two or three days of therapy. It takes up to a week. How painful is it to be a bone marrow donor? Any side effects of this process on the donor? and so on…As a donor must have such questions. The donor must know that even if the procedure will not give pain but will have some side effects and will vary from person to person.
The majority of marrow donors feel completely recovered within a few weeks. The donor will give about 2 to 3 per cent of their marrow, which grows back within a few weeks. A donor must be at least 18. Why so?Because donation is a medical procedure and the person must be able to give legal informed consent. People have a lot of misconceptions and fears. First and foremost, donating bone marrow is completely voluntary. You can have an opportunity to save a life! Bone marrow transplant prolongs the life of patients who might otherwise die.
How bone marrow transplantation was introduced?
In the 1960s, by pioneering work of individuals like Mathe, McFarland and Donnal Thomas. It has rapidly developed from an experimental procedure to an established treatment for a variety of serious disorders. The first successful bone marrow transplant was done in 1968. More recently, doctors have begun using cord blood from the placenta and umbilical cords of newborn babies as another source of stem cells.
Today nearly 50,000 new transplants are done each year. Also, if there is identical twins or triplets with the same genetic makeup and bone marrow transplantation is done only between then called Syngeneic stem cell transplant. So an advantage of this is that GVHD will not be a problem.
The basic goal of a bone marrow transplant is to cure many diseases and types of cancer. When the doses of chemotherapy or radiation needed to cure a cancer are so high that a person’s bone marrow stem cells will be permanently damaged or destroyed by the treatment, a bone marrow transplant may be needed.
Now you must have got the answer for why bone marrow transplant? Over the past half century, bone marrow transplantation has been used with increasing frequency to treat numerous malignant and nonmalignant diseases. With the advancements in techniques, indications and supportive therapy the transplant of stem cells continues to be an advancing field in the treatment of human disease.
The healthy bone marrow is the gift of life. So support the gift of life and be someone’s match. If you became the match of one member in the family you will give happiness to the entire family. Be a hero and donate bone marrow!