Who needs Bone Marrow Transplantation in India?

Bone marrow is the sponge like tissue found in the interior of certain bones-contains stem cells, which are the precursors of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. These blood cells are vital for normal human body functions. But because of association of certain diseases, stem cells may produce too many, very few or abnormal blood cells. Also, some medical treatments may destroy these stem cells. Bone marrow transplantation is used to treat severe problems. It involves extracting the bone marrow having normal stem cells from a healthy body and transferring into the affected body. The aim of the bone marrow transplant is to rebuild the affected person’s blood cells and immune system.

Bone marrow transplantation is used to cure diseases and also certain types of cancer. Bone marrow transplant may also be required when the person has been given high doses of chemotherapy or radiations and because of it, his bone marrow has been permanently damaged or destroyed by the treatment. Bone marrow transplantation can used to replace the diseases bone marrow with the healthy functioning bone marrow. It can also be used to replace the bone marrow, which has been highly affected, and restore its normal body functions. It is also used to replace the bone marrow with genetically healthier bone marrow so as to prevent it from getting further damaged as a result of genetic disorders. Some of the diseases that have been cured from bone marrow transplantation include Lymphomas, Leukemia in Children, Aplastic Anemia, Thalassemia and some solid tumors.

There are different types of bone marrow transplants depending upon the donor. Autologous bone marrow transplant, allogeneic bone marrow transplant, umbilical cord blood transplant are the different types of bone marrow transplants.

In autologous bone marrow transplant, the donor is the child himself or herself. Stem cells are taken from the infected body, and then are given back after the treatment. In allogeneic bone marrow transplant, the donor is genetically elated to the recipient. In umbilical cord bone marrow transplant, the stem cells are taken from the umbilical cord directly after the delivery of the child. Those stem cells are then tested, typed, counted and frozen until they are required for the transplant.

The typing of the HLA tissue determines the matching of the bone marrow transplant donor and the recipient. The antigens, which are present on the surface of the white blood cells, determine the genetic make up of the immune system. Though there are several antigens present, but there are a few major antigens, which determine the matching of the donor and the recipient. The more the number of antigens matches; the better is the engraftment of donated marrow. As with the other procedures, such as bone marrow transplant, prognosis and long term survival depends upon person to person. The amount of transplants occurring for an increased number of diseases and medical developments has greatly improved the outcome for bone marrow transplant in children and adults.