Stem cell transplant is a highly advanced medical procedure used to treat patients suffering from chronic diseases affecting their blood or immune system. These include grave ailments like Leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. The leading bone marrow transplant hospital in Mumbai has been successful in treating numerous patients using the procedure.
A lot of people prefer to undergo a bone marrow transplant in Mumbai due to the very high efficiency of the procedures performed here. Also, Bone marrow cancer treatment cost is comparatively cheaper than other places, making it one of the best options for your treatment.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are special undifferentiated cells which have the tendency to divide and multiply to produce more of their kind. Stem cells are present either in the adult body tissue or the embryos. Stem cells can be collected from the umbilical cord of a baby at the time of its birth and preserved at a very low temperature to be used whenever required.
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Stem cell transplant
Stem cell transplant is a medical procedure which involves the transplant of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells into the body of a patient suffering from blood or bone marrow cancer. The procedure can be autologous, allogeneic or syngeneic. The autologous bone marrow transplant involves the use of stem cells taken from the patient himself, allogeneic transplant involves the use of stem cells taken from a matching donor and syngeneic transplant is a type of allogeneic transplant in which the stem cells are derived from the patient's identical twin. Bone marrow transplant doctors specialise in all the three types of stem cell transplant.
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How does the procedure work?
Leukaemia and lymphoma are two types of cancers that can severely damage the patient's bone marrow. Sometimes it is not only the disease but also the treatments used to cure it, which add to this damage. Chemotherapy which is used to kill malignant cells can sometimes damage the surrounding bone marrow as well. In such cases, stem cell transplant can prove to be the best and most effective method of treatment. As mentioned earlier, stem cells have the tendency to divide and multiply just like cancerous cells. The transplanted stem cells replace all the damaged stem cells in the patient's body and trigger the formation of healthy blood cells.
Allogenic stem cell transplant can even help to treat certain types of cancer as compared to autologous stem cells as these can easily detect cancer cells. This is known as “graft-versus-cancer” or “graft-versus-leukemia” effect.
Hence stem cell transplant not only helps to make up for the damaged bone marrow but also helps to fight cancer in certain cases.
What are the steps involved?
Stem cell transplant is carried out in 4 phases.
Phase 1 involves the collection of healthy stem cells with the help of a catheter. This phase is not needed in case of allogeneic transplant or if stored stem cells derived from the umbilical cord are used.
During Phase 2 the patient is subjected to chemo or radiation therapy.
Phase 3 involves the actual transplant which is somewhat similar to blood transfusion. The procedure is painless.
Phase 4 focus on recovery and healthy healing of the patient.
Benefits of stem cell transplant
Stem cell transplant can be used to treat patients suffering from a wide range of problems. These can prove to be effective in case of
1. High dose of chemotherapy or radiation therapy
2. Congenital neutropenia
6. Sickle cell anaemia
8. Germ cell tumours
9. Certain inherited and genetic diseases
10. Aplastic anaemia
Common risks involved include chest pain, headache, hives, fever, low blood pressure, breathlessness, bleeding, anaemia, cataract, clotting, organ damage, early menopause, serious infections, inflammation, stomach problems etc.
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.