A bone marrow transplant surgery is done to implant blood-forming and healthy stem cells in the body by replacing your diseased or damaged bone marrow. It can also be called a stem cell transplant. These transplants may use cells from your body or a donor’s body.
Why do we need a bone marrow transplant?
A leukemia bone marrow transplant is done to benefit people with various cancerous and non-cancerous diseases including, Acute and Chronic leukemia. These diseases damage your stem cells and by replacing them it helps to kill cancer directly.
There are two types of stem cell transplants, Allogeneic and Autologous. Allogeneic requires a donor whereas Autologous is the process of using cells from your own body.
What is the process?
For an Allogeneic transplant, the first thing to do is to find a bone marrow transplant donor. After finding a donor, we need to find the correct stem cell match to avoid risks like Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), stem cell failure, organ damage, infections, infertility, new cancers, or death in extreme cases.
The GVHD is caused only in the Allogeneic process when the donors stem cells make up your new immune system and see your organs and tissues as a foreign substance and starts to attack them.
The process before the transplant is called the conditioning process. After completing the pretransplant tests and procedures, we begin with conditioning. During this time, you might undergo, chemotherapy, and possibly radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells and suppress the immune system to prepare your body for the transplant.
You might experience some side effects like nausea, vomiting, bleeding, and some others during this process.
Your bone marrow transplant is done after the conditioning process. On this day new stem cells are infused in your body. After your transplant, your blood cells multiply and after a few weeks you might have to go through some tests. You must remain in close care after your transplant.