A bone marrow transplant is used in treatments that can save people’s lives. If can help people who are suffering from deadly diseases, like cancer. Unfortunately, like all transplants, it suffers from a lack of donors.
Marrow plays an important role in the body. IT produces all of the formed elements in the blood: erythrocytes (red blood cells), leukocytes (white blood cells) and thrombocytes (platelets).
Normally, these cells renew themselves through the stem cells located in the bone marrow. These stem cells are virgin cells that can evolve into various types of cells.
Marrow is located within the center of long bones, such as the arm’s humerus, or in flat bones, such as the pelvic bone. Marrow is very different from the spinal cord. The spinal cord is part of the central nervous system which is located in a channel formed between the vertebrae of the spine.
The How and Why of a Bone Marrow Transplant
During a bone marrow transplant, a sample of bone marrow is taken from a donor and reimplanted into a patient.
There are several diseases that be treated with this transplant. It is effective with lymphoma and leukemia, because, in each of these diseases, the cancer cells invade the bone marrow and prevent it from functioning correctly.
It is also an effective treatment for aphasia in which the patient’s bone marrow no longer functions and they are no longer able to produce red blood cells or white blood cells.
A transplant can also be used when a harmful treatment destroys a patient’s bone marrow and therefore destroys the cells. With no red blood cells, the patient is at risk for anemia. The lack of white blood cells can make the patient prone to infection. And, platelets are a source of bleeding.
The main problem that occurs during a bone marrow transplant is graft rejection. This occurs when the recipient’s body does not accept the donor’s marrow.
Each person has their own characteristics. Tissues are genetically defined, and the immune system eliminates any foreign elements that enter the body. HLA System is the term used to describe all of the properties of the tissue.
When transplanting an organ that meets with the HLA criteria, the organ is said to be compatible. That means the body of the recipient accepted the organ and the immune system did not destroy the organ after the transplant. The immune system recognized the organ as part of the body.
Two Types of Transplants
The allograft uses donors. The donor can be a family member or unrelated. However, it can be difficult to find a stranger that has compatible marrow which would be accepted by the patient’s immune system. It’s more likely to find compatible marrow if the donor is the patient’s sister or brother.
Transplant are most effective when the donor is related to the recipient. However, in most families, only one child in four has the same HLA system as their sick sibling.
The second type of transplant is the autologous bone marrow transplant. This uses the patient’s marrow, which is collected and frozen during an aggressive treatment. Then it can be reimplanted at a later time.
For more information on stem cell research, cord blood or cord blood banking, visit http://cord-blood-bank.weebly.com/.