A bone marrow transplant is a procedure to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells.Bone marrow is the soft, fatty tissue inside your bones. The bone marrow produces blood cells. Stem cells are immature cells in the bone marrow that give rise to all of your different blood cells.
The following diseases are the ones that most commonly benefit from bone marrow transplant:
Acute leukemia, Adrenoleukodystrophy, Aplastic anemia, Bone marrow failure syndromes, Chronic leukemia, Hemoglobinopathies, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Immune deficiencies, Inborn errors of metabolism, Multiple myeloma,, Myelodysplastic syndromes, Neuroblastoma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Plasma, Cell disorders, POEMS syndrome, Primary amyloidosis
The different types of BMT include the following:
Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant The donor is the patient himself or herself. Stem cells are taken from the patient either by bone marrow harvest or apheresis (a process of collecting peripheral blood stem cells), frozen, and then given back to the patient after intensive treatment. Often the term rescue is used instead of transplant.
Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant The donor shares the same genetic type as the patient. Stem cells are taken either by bone marrow harvest or apheresis from a genetically matched donor, usually a brother or sister.
Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant Stem cells are taken from an umbilical cord immediately after delivery of an infant. These stem cells reproduce into mature, functioning blood cells quicker and more effectively than do stem cells taken from the bone marrow of another child or adult. The stem cells are tested, typed, counted, and frozen until they are needed for a transplant.
If your bone marrow transplant is using stem cells from a donor (allogeneic transplant), your doctors may prescribe medications to help prevent graft-versus-host disease and reduce your immune system’s reaction (immunosuppressive medications). After your transplant, it takes time for your immune system to recover. During this time, you may be given medications to prevent infections.