The National Marrow Donor Program in the U.S. says that the bone marrow is the soft tissue that fills the inside of the bones. It has the main function of producing the blood-forming stem cells (also called hematopoietic stem cells or HSCs), or in other words, cells able to produce red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets when mature.
These cells are extremely important for the proper function of the human body because they are in charge of carrying oxygen to all the tissues (red blood cells), helping to fight infections (white blood cells) and controlling bleeding when some injury occurs (platelets).
So, any disease or condition that affects the bone marrow will produce important consequence for the body functioning.
WHAT IS A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT?
MedlinePlus explains that a bone marrow transplant is a medical procedure that allows replacing a bone marrow destroyed or damaged by any condition (especially a disease, infections or chemotherapy treatments) with healthy HSCs.
There are two different types of bone marrow transplant, autologous and allogeneic. The autologous bone marrow transplant refers to the use of the patient's own healthy cells or peripheral blood stem cell (which are the cells circulating in the blood). On the other hand, the allogeneic refers to the use of the blood-forming stem cells of another person, like a relative, an unrelated donor or even blood from an umbilical cord.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT?
The benefits of a bone marrow transplant are huge; however, the patient will notice more or less changes according to the symptoms and the disease that he/she had before the transplant. If the patient had symptoms of a single cell line damage, he/she will have fewer symptoms than patients who have damage in all the cell lines.
For example, if the affected cell line is the white blood cells line, the patient can present very frequent and severe infections that in many cases don’t respond to treatment; however, these infections are usually mild in other people. So, after the bone marrow transplant, his/her immune system will fight the infections properly.
If the affected cell line is the red blood cells line, the patient will have constant anemia that cannot be treated with iron or folic acid supplements, so after the transplant, the patient will have normal levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Finally, if the disease affects the platelets, the patient will have problems with the coagulation process, so after the treatment, he/she will have a proper coagulation.
This way, it's understandable that if the patient has a disease that affects the three cell lines, he/she has a lot of symptoms that will be cured with the bone marrow transplant, so the benefits that he/she obtains from the transplant are innumerable.
WHEN IS RECOMMENDED UNDERGO A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT?
A bone marrow transplant is indicated when a person has a marrow that doesn't work properly for many reasons. Among the most common causes of bone marrow damage infections, chronic diseases (aplastic anemia, congenital neutropenia, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia), cancer (leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma) can be included, after chemotherapy treatments.
WHO IS THE BEST DONOR FOR BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT?
The best donor for bone marrow transplant always depends on the patient because the match between a donor and a recipient is determined by the typing human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue.
The HLA is defined as the specific genetic information of a person's immune system. There are more than 100 HLA antigens, but not all of them determine the match between a bone marrow donor and a recipient.
So, the best donor of bone marrow is a person who has the higher amount of HLA antigens matched with the recipient patient because there is less probability that his/her immune system reacts against the new cells as considering strange.
WHAT IS THE BEST AGE FOR A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT DONOR?
There is no a specific age to be the best donor of a bone marrow transplant. However, many studies have demonstrated that the younger the donor is, the best long-term results and survival probabilities the patient has.
According to the National Marrow Donor Program, experts usually prefer a donor who is between 18 and 44 years of age.
WHAT IS THE COST OF A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT?
The cost of a bone marrow transplant is usually high due to the difficulty of this procedure. However, it can widely vary according to the patient's general health conditions, the availability of a donor, the amount of bone marrow that must be transplanted, among others.
So, if you or a relative of yours needs to undergo this procedure, please contact us at email@example.com. We will answer all your questions, and we will find for you the best professionals in your area.