Basics of Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplantation
Bone marrow is a soft, spongy tissue found inside the bone. Our body starts producing blood as stem cells in the bone marrow. Stem cells develop into one of the three types of mature blood cells-red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets-and enter the bloodstream. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. White blood cells fight infection. Platelets cause blood to clot.
The bones of the hip, chest (sternum/breastbone) and pelvis contain the largest amount of marrow and stem cells in an adult. Bone Marrow was earlier used as a source of stem cells, when it was demonstrated that few stem cells also circulate in the bloodstream. These are called Peripheral Blood Stem Cells (PBSCs).
What is Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplantation
When the stem cells are collected from the bone marrow the transplant that follows is called Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) and when peripheral blood is used as the source of stem cells, the transplant that follows is called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant (PBSCT). This revolutionary technique changed the scenario of transplant as it meant the avoidance of OT, Anesthesia and the discomfort associated with Bone Marrow harvest to the donor.
PBSCT is the preferred mode of transplant. BMT is done sparingly when SCT is not possible.
Why Transplant Bone Marrow/Stem Cell
The goal of cancer treatment such as Radiation is to destroy cancer cells. Unfortunately, bone marrow and healthy cells are also destroyed in the process. Also, the cure rate of Hematological malignancies with chemotherapy is not 100 percent.
The Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation (PBSCT) are procedures that restore stem cells that have been destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.