Bone marrow transplant is a surgical process through which damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. Bone marrow is the soft, fatty tissue inside the bones which produces new blood cells. It also works as a vital part of the lymphatic system by preventing the backflow of lymph. Bone marrow constitutes 4% of the total body weight of humans, i.e. approximately 2.6 kg (5.7 lbs.) in adults.
Bone marrow is of two types namely red marrow (consists mainly of hematopoietic tissue) and yellow marrow (consists mainly of fat cells). Red blood cells, platelets and most white blood cells occur in red marrow. There are numerous blood vessels and capillaries in both types of bone marrow.
All bone marrow is red at the time of birth but most of them gradually convert to yellow marrow with age. Red marrow is mostly found in the flat bones, such as the breast bone, hip bone, skull, vertebrae, ribs, and shoulder blades in the cancellous ("spongy") material at the epiphyseal ends of the long bones such as the femur and humerus. The hollow interior of the middle portion of long bones has Yellow marrow.
The stroma of the bone marrow does not play a direct role in the primary function of hematopoiesis. The yellow bone marrow arises here and creates the majority of the bone marrow stroma the majority of the bone marrow stroma. . Yellow bone marrow occurs in the Medullary cavity.
Mesenchymal stem cells or marrow stromal cells occur in the bone marrow stroma. Mesenchymal stem cells are further divided into include osteoblasts, myocytes, adipocytes, and, as described lately, beta-pancreatic islets cells. Besides, they can also be trans differentiate into neuronal cells.
A bone marrow transplant is a procedure through which damaged or destroyed bone marrow is replaced with healthy bone marrow stem cells.
The stem cells produced by bone marrow develop into blood cells. Often referred to as the main blood cell "factor" of the body, bone marrow is extremely important. Bone marrow problems can be very fatal in some persons.
Two Types of Bone Marrow Transplants
Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant :- The donor is the person him/herself.
Allogenic bone marrow transplant:- Tissue donated by a person other than the patient. Both the donar and the recipient have to be of the same genetic type. In many cases the donar is someone from the immediate family because tissue types are inherited, similar to hair or eye color. The number of these cases is limited to only 25 to 30 percent.
Circulating stem cells (PBSC) collected by apheresis are used in a donation process most of the times. The stem cells are pushed out of the bone marrow and into the blood through the use of vaccination which are injected for a few days of a medication. Stem cells are collected from the donar by connecting him/her to a machine by a needle inserted in the vein. The machine filter the blood taken from the donar’s vein and returns back to the donor through a needle in the other arm. This procedure does not require any recovery period at all.
In rare cases stem cells are collected by bone marrow harvest in which condition the donor is given anesthesia in the operating room. Bone marrows are collected by injecting a needle in either the hip or the breastbone. There is a possibility of the person can feel some pain where the needle was inserted.
The recipient of bone marrow is given high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation. This makes room for new bone marrow by eliminating the already existing bone marrows. This indeed is a complex procedure for any patient. Once all the old bone marrows are removed, new stem cells are injected into the person intravenously, like a blood transfusion. The new stem cells make their way and start to grow and multiply. This process is called engraftment.
The reduction in bone marrow or their elimination can cause serious problems such as infections, anaemia, and low platelets in the blood which in turn lead to dangerous internal bleeding. These problems are treated blood transfusions until new stem cells to start to grow.
Your Life After Transplant
New bone marrow may take as long as a year to function normally. During this time patients are monitored and supervised so that any infections or complications can be identified before they start to develop.
After the bone marrow transplant, the patient feels lively and energetic which also improves their quality of life.
However, the chances of relapse are always there. Even after the patient has recovered, a few statements or events can sometimes summon up unpleasant memories of the transplant procedure. The patient can take some time to overcome these difficulties.