Bone Marrow Transplant

November 12, 2012

Bone Marrow Transplant

There are a number of conditions that cause abnormal production of blood cells in the bone marrow; the treatment for which includes a bone marrow transplant.

Bone marrow transplant is also known as stem cell transplant and is a procedure required when an individual suffers from a damages bone marrow. The results of damage to the bone marrow include the cease of production of normal blood cells, which can lead to serious implications. If your body has insufficient amounts of red blood cells, then your body will become starved of oxygen leading to tiredness and damage to the organs. A lack of white blood cells will cause an increased risk of infection and a lack of platelets can lead to excessive bruising and bleeding. Examples of conditions that can have an affect on the bone marrow or blood include:

  • Leukaemia

This is a form of cancer that affects the white blood cells. The white blood cells begin to replicate uncontrollably without any of their infection-fighting characteristics. Therefore the cancer is able to spread quickly via the blood stream and restricts the production or red blood cells and platelets. Symptoms of Leukaemia include anaemia, regular infections and excessive bruising and bleeding.

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

This is also cancer of the white blood cells, although this condition is spread via the lymphatic system rather than the bloodstream. The lymphatic system is a series of glands that can be found throughout the entire body. They play an important role in the proper functioning of the immune system.

  • Inherited blood disorders

There are a number of disorders of the blood that can be passed down through the genes and means that a certain gene has mutations that affect the development of blood cells and disrupts production. Some examples include sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia. Both of these conditions affect the red blood cells.

Who can undergo a bone marrow transplant?

Generally bone marrow transplants are only recommended for patients who remain in fairly health condition. The procedure is commonly performed on individual’s whose cancer is currently in remission. It is also sometimes performed when other forms of treatment are not proving effective. Donation from a sibling is often the most successful kinds of bone marrow transplant as there is a reduced risk of rejection. It is essential that the human leukocyte antigen HLA type is the same in the donor as the recipient or else the transplant will be rejected and treated as a foreign object. There is a 1 in 4 chance that siblings will be an exact match, but when this is not an option the bone marrow registry will be searched. This is a database of people willing to donate for a bone marrow transplant and includes their HLA type.

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