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Everything you need to understand about bone marrow transplant.

Bone marrow as we know is a spongy tissue that resides within our bones and produces stem cells known as hematopoietic stem cells. These stem cells develop into white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. When a person requires a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, it means that the stem cells the person has, has either been destroyed through some procedure like radiation or chemotherapy or the cells are faulty and cancerous.

What exactly is the difference between a stem cell transplant and a bone marrow transplant?

The words 'stem cells’ and 'bone marrow’ are often used as substitutes for each other since our bone marrow is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells. What we don't know is that there is a slight technical difference when it comes to the donation procedures of both.  During the bone marrow transplant, the stem cells of the donor are taken from his bone marrow. When the donor is under general anaesthesia, the bone marrow is harvested from the hip bones directly through a large needle. When it comes to a peripheral blood stem cell transplant, also known as PBST, a process called apheresis takes place  where the donors receive thorough medication to increase the stem cells in their bodies. This procedure is very similar to a blood donation procedure.

There is another way of stem cell transplant which uses hematopoietic stem cells from the stored umbilical cord blood. This umbilical cord is donated by parents to a public cord blood bank so that a person matching with the cord can can use it in need. It is important to note that in all cases the patient receives stem cells as the final product.

Who should get a stem cell or bone marrow transplantation done?

People who need transplantation done are usually diagnosed with lymphoma, leukaemia,myelodysplasia, severe blood diseases and multiple myeloma. Bone Marrow Transplant in india cost isn't as much as it is in other places.

This diseases can usually be cured to a great extent with the help of a transplant.  When such a replacement is required, the patient's doctor who deals in primary care like an oncologist (who is a cancer specialist) or a hematologist (a blood specialist) will recommend and give suggestions for the best treatment options for the patient.

What are the benefits and risks associated with bone marrow and stem cell transplants?
When it comes to allogeneic transplants, the stem cells extracted from healthy donors are free of cancer and can fight whatever remaining cancer cells are there. This phenomenon is called graft versus cancer cells. The only risk here is that the donors immunized cells may get on to attacks the patients healthy cells. This phenomenon is known as graft versus host disease. The way you can reduce this risk is, by giving the patient drugs to get their immune system under control. There is a risk involved here as well. A weakened immune system can cause serious infection.
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