What happens during bone marrow transplant

Bone marrow is a type of semi solid tissue which is found inside some bones. It is soft and gelatinous in nature and specifically present in spongy portions of the bone. It is an important and significant part of the body as it is the primary site of the new blood cell production. Some of the common cells that are found in this part are hematopoietic cells, marrow adipose tissue, supportive stromal cells etc. These stem cells develop into blood cells. But there are some conditions which hamper the work of bone marrow. The way out of this problem is to go for bone marrow transplant.

A bone marrow transplant is a surgical procedure to replace diseased tissues with the help of healthy ones. It helps the body in making enough red, white blood cells and platelets. It is done to avoid infection, bleeding, disorder and anemia. There are two types of bone marrow in the body. They are explained below –

·         Red – all the red blood cells are produced by it. Along with that, platelets and around 60-70 percent of lymphocytes are generated by it. Old and worn out tissues are also gotten rid by this bone marrow.

·         Yellow – In the body, it acts storage of fats. Its main function is to maintain the correct environment for the bone to function. In case of an emergency like severe blood loss, yellow bone marrow turns into red.

Bone marrow transplant doctors in India use this method for the following reasons –

·         There are different types of cancer that directly affects the working of bone marrow. The transplant procedure helps it in replacing the non functioning one. Some of the common conditions are leukemia, aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia etc.

·         While treating the cancer, there is need of treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. There can be damage to this body part while giving the treatment. Along with affected cells, some healthy cells are also killed. Transplant is needed to regenerate a new immune system.

·         There are some genetic diseases such as Hurler’s syndrome, adrenoleukodystrphy which cause damage to the bone marrow.

One of the most important components in a transplant method is tissue type. It is defined as the type of Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) on the surface of the cells. It helps in finding out if the cells belong to the body or not. There are more than a million tissues present but some are common. A tissue type is inherited and passed down from the family. A blood relative is more probable to have a matching tissue type than any other person. Before the transplant starts, there are different tests which need to be done. Some of them are tissue typing, chest X-ray, Pulmonary function test, CT or CAT scan, skeletal survey etc.

There are different types of bone marrow transplants. Some of them are explained below –

·         Autologous – Autologous stem cell transplant in India is the one in which body’s own cells are used. In this procedure, stem cells are removed from the patient before beginning the cancer treatment. After the treatment has finished, they are placed back.

·         Allogeneic – It is a procedure in which destroyed marrow is replaced with stem cells that are taken from the donor. It is used in diseases such as bone marrow failure, metabolic disorders, malignant diseases etc. The survival chance increase with better HLA match.

·         Haploidentical – It is a form of allogeneic transplant in which the donor is not fully HLA matched but it is a parent or sibling. Closer the match, higher will the success rate.

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