Bone marrow transplant is the most effective stem cell therapy known to the world. Nearly 85 percent boost has been noticed in the survival rates in many cancer patients due to this treatment method. A bone marrow transplant helps in saving the life of patients suffering from leukemia, multiple myeloma, myelodysplasia, lymphoma and many other critical blood and immune deficiency diseases.
In a normal human, four percent of the weight of the entire body, which is almost 2.6 kg, is normal bone marrow which generates about 500 billion blood cells. Bone marrow is as important as our heart or brain. Due to normal bone marrow, stem cells and progenitors of all immune cells and powerful regenerative machines are generated.
The first of these transplants was carried out in 1968 wherein a child who was suffering from leukemia was saved. There are two types of bone marrow transplants – Autologous and Allogeneic transplants. An autologous transplant involves high-dose chemotherapy followed by infusion of the patient’s own previously collected peripheral blood stem cells. An allogeneic transplant involves high-dose chemotherapy followed by infusion of donor bone marrow or blood stem cells. There are many tests that are involved before the procedure. The patient also needs two to four weeks aftercare once the procedure is done. Since 1968, the technology around bone marrow transplant has seen many advancements.
Even after being a famous therapy method, there are many myths around bone marrow transplant. Wrong information to the patient or their caretaker or family can prove to be very fatal. The right information can help in many ways.
Here are a few things you might not know about this stem cell therapy:
- 70% patients who are in search of a donor usually find it difficult to get a matching one in their own family. In most of the cases, not finding the right donor is a critical issue for carrying out the transplant.
- Leukemia stands to be the top reason for death of children as compared to any other cancer. This disease affects a lot of children globally and the number of cases are increasing by the day.
- People between the age group of 18 years to 25 years are the best donors for this transplant. There is a dire need of the right donors and youngsters falling in this age group are the best fit for the role.
- Donation doesn’t cost anything and is not at all painful. As opposed to the general belief that the donation process is very painful and costs money, it is free of cost and doesn’t cause any problem to the donor.
- Bone marrow gets restored by itself within four to six weeks. A donor doesn’t literally “lose” any bones. It is taken from their blood stream in the liquid form. The marrow recovers within weeks without any side effects usually.
Scientists are looking for new ways to come up with more therapeutic solutions through drugs that can help in easing the whole transplant process. Once the problem of the right donor is out of the way, it is always a good idea to check surgery packages online to have an idea of the costs involved in the transplant. You need to be well prepared for it.
If you are lucky enough to be on the better side, do not hesitate to help by donating bone marrow when you can. Do not hold yourself back from helping someone just because you don’t have the right information.