How Do Bone Marrow Transplants Work?
Our blood is one of the most fundamental elements in our body. Without it, oxygen and other nutrients will not be transported to the different parts of our body, which will then ultimately result in death.
It is our bone marrows that create the blood cells that are needed by our bodies. It creates the red blood cells that act as the transporter of oxygen and nutrients to the different organs of your body. It is also responsible for creating white blood cells that are needed to fend off any invading pathogen. And lastly, it also creates platelets that are responsible for blood clotting and to avoid you from bleeding to death when cut.
So you see, our bone marrows are quite amazing and it is very important as well. However, this part of our bodies gets severely weakened or damaged whenever we ingest cancer-killing drugs.
In order for you to treat Leukemia, for example, you will need to undergo a bone marrow transplant (or BMT) just to make sure that your cell production is going to be adequate, especially after running through a series of chemotherapy sessions.
Knowing this, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do bone marrow transplant work?” If you are curious, read on to find out.
Where Do You Get the Stem Cells?
It is best to start this bit by actually stating where you get the stem cells from. Stem cells, in general, are actually acquired from the different parts of our body. However, for the purposes of this article, we will only be going to talk about bone marrow stem cells.
Our bone marrows are sponge-like material that is found in bone cavities inside our body. The way doctors extract them is through an Intravenous Catheter or from a thin tube that is put in your body to begin extraction.
The blood extracted will flow through a machine that will separate the stem cells from any other cells during the entire process. The stem cells will then be frozen so that it will be preserved until it is time to use it.
When someone says the transplant is Autologous it simply means that your own stem cells are used. If they refer to Allogeneic stem cell transplants, it just means that the cells come from someone else.
No matter what type of transplant you’re going to get, you or the donor will be given a series of tests to see if you’re compatible with one another so that the extraction process can begin.
What Diseases Are Treatable?
So, what are the diseases that can be treated by a bone marrow transplant? Here is just a brief list:
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Severe Aplastic Anemia
- Severe Combined Immunodeficiency
- Hurler Syndrome
- Multiple Myeloma
Bone marrow transplants work by harvesting your own stem cells (autologous) or getting it from a suitable donor. The cells will then work to replace all of the damaged cells in your body, especially the red and white blood cells. It can treat various diseases which is why it is one of the most popular transplants in the world.