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Bone Marrow Transplantation Essay

1229 words - 5 pages

Background Info? Bone marrow transplantation restores stem cells that were destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
After being treated with high-dose anticancer drugs and/or radiation, the patient receives the harvested stem cells, which travel to the bone marrow and begin to produce new blood cells. Bone marrow is the soft, sponge-like material found inside bones. It contains immature cells known as hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cells. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of your bones, such as your hip and thigh bones. It contains immature cells, called stem cells. The stem cells can develop into red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the ...view middle of the document...

The healthy, transplanted stem cells can restore the bone marrow’s ability to produce the blood cells the patient needs.In some types of leukemia, the graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect that occurs after allogeneic BMT is crucial to the effectiveness of the treatment. GVT occurs when white blood cells from the donor (the graft) identify the cancer cells that remain in the patient’s body after the chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy (the tumor) as foreign and attack them. The stem cells used in BMT come from the liquid center of the bone, called the marrow. In general, the procedure for obtaining bone marrow, which is called “harvesting,” is similar for all three types of BMTs (autologous, syngeneic, and allogeneic). The donor is given either general anesthesia, which puts the person to sleep during the procedure, or regional anesthesia, which causes loss of feeling below the waist. Needles are inserted through the skin over the pelvic (hip) bone or, in rare cases, the sternum (breastbone), and into the bone marrow to draw the marrow out of the bone. Harvesting the marrow takes about an hour. The harvested bone marrow is then processed to remove blood and bone fragments. Harvested bone marrow can be combined with a preservative and frozen to keep the stem cells alive until they are needed. This technique is known as cryopreservation.
Benefits? BMT is most commonly used in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma. It’s most effective when the leukemia or lymphoma is in remission (the signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared). BMT is used to treat other cancers such as neuroblastoma (cancer that arises in immature nerve cells and affects mostly infants and children) and multiple myeloma.
Bad effects if any? Because only a small amount of bone marrow is removed, donating usually does not pose any significant problems for the donor. The most serious risk associated with donating bone marrow involves the use of anesthesia during the procedure. The area where the bone marrow was taken out may feel stiff or sore for a few days, and the donor may feel tired. Within a few weeks, the donor’s body replaces the donated marrow; however, the time required for a donor to recover varies. Some people are back to their usual routine within 2 or 3 days, while others may take up to 3 to 4 weeks to fully recover their strength. Graft failure occurs if your immune system rejects the new stem cells. It also can occur if not enough stem cells are used, the new stem cells are damaged during storage, or your bone marrow is damaged after the transplant. In some people who get stem cell transplants to treat cancer (such as leukemia), the cancer eventually comes...

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