Leaving hopes only makes you directionless, isn’t it? So choosing life is a wise option.
Bone marrow transplant is nothing less than a ray of hope for many who are battling for their life every day. Being a medical procedure, it is performed to replace the bone marrow that has been damaged or destroyed by a disease, infection, or chemotherapy. This procedure transplants the blood stem cells, which travel to the bone marrow where they produce new blood cells and promote the growth of new marrow.
A bone marrow is a spongy, fatty tissue inside your bones which creates the red and white blood cells and platelets. During the transplant, healthy stem cells are taken from a donor, or from your own body.
Bone marrow transplant in India is mostly preferred by the doctors for treating cancer. As the number of cancer survivors is increasing the transplant procedure is getting even more popular. Due to the use of highly advanced technology and the latest approaches, its success rate is much higher than before.
Types of bone marrow transplants
This type of transplant uses a person’s own stem cells. They typically involve harvesting that person’s cells before beginning a damaging therapy like chemotherapy or radiation. Post-treatment, your own cells are returned to your body. But the fact that is to be kept in mind is that the transplant is possible only when you havehealthy bone marrow.
This type of transplant uses cells from a donor. The only criteria is that the donor must be a close genetic match. So, in such cases, best BMT specialists recommend contacting the close relatives. However, genetic matches can also be found from a donor registry.
Here, it becomes compulsory for the recipient to go for an allogeneic transplant where the bone marrow cells are itself damaged and not in the condition to be used. Leading to more complications, you have to take medicines in order to suppress the immune system so that the body doesn’t attack the new cells. This can leave you susceptible to illness. The success of this transplant depends on how closely the donor’s bone marrow matches your own.
Nanavati Max Hospital is listed among the top allogeneic transplant hospitals in Mumbai as it provides a specialised centre for treatment which is managed by an expert team of doctors.
Why the need for bone marrow transplant?
Some of the reasons for unhealthy bone marrow are listed below:
- Aplastic anaemia, a disorder in which the marrow stops making new blood cells
- Cancers that affect the marrow, such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma
- Damaged bone marrow due to chemotherapy
- Congenital neutropenia, an inherited disorder which causes recurring infections
- Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes misshapen red blood cells
- Thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder where the body makes an abnormal form of haemoglobin, an integral part of red blood cells
The doctors before recommending a bone marrow transplant will do several tests to discover what type of bone marrow cells you need and also to know whether you are fit to undergo a transplant or not. Radiation or chemotherapy is used to kill all cancer cells or marrow cells before you get the new stem cells. The transplant generally takes up to a week so one needs to do pre-surgical preparations accordingly.
Milestones of a successful bone marrow transplant
A bone marrow transplant is successful when it reaches the following milestones:
- Your blood counts should be back to safe levels
Because you undergo transplant your blood count becomes very low for at least 1 to 2 weeks. This causes the following risk:
- Infection from low numbers of white cells
- Bleeding from low numbers of platelets
- Tiredness from low numbers of red cells
However, the doctor lower these risks by giving blood and platelet transfusions after a transplant. They also recommend antibiotics to help prevent infections. So, when the new stem cells multiply, they make more blood cells which make your blood counts improve. This is the one way to know if a transplant is a success.
- It controls your cancer
The transplant is done for an ultimate cure. Many cancers are curable and for others, remission is the best result. After the transplant, you need to go to a doctor so that he can keep an eye on its positive and negative developments.
Dr. Balkrishna Padate (Director and Head- Hematology)
Dr. Balkrishna Padate is Director and Head- Hematology, Hemato-oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Nanavati Max Institute of Cancer Care. An alumnus of the prestigious Royal College of Pathologist, London, Dr Padate is widely recognised as one of the best hematologist and Bone Marrow Transplant surgeon of India.