Bone Marrow Transplant
Bone marrow is the spongy, fatty tissue inside bones. It creates the following parts of the blood:
- red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body
- white blood cells, which fight infection
- platelets, which are responsible for the formation of clots
Bone marrow also contains immature blood-forming stem cells known as hematopoietic stem cells or HSCs. Most cells are already differentiated and can only make copies of themselves. However, these stem cells are unspecialized, meaning they have the potential to multiply through cell division and either remain stem cells or differentiate and mature into many different kinds of blood cells. The HSC found in the bone marrow will make new blood cells throughout your lifespan.
A bone marrow transplant is a medical procedure performed to replace bone marrow that has been damaged or destroyed by disease, infection, or chemotherapy. This procedure involves transplanting blood stem cells, which travel to the bone marrow where they produce new blood cells and promote the growth of new marrow. Also, as a result, the body makes enough white blood cells, platelets, or red blood cells to avoid infections, bleeding disorders, or anemia.
Healthy stem cells can come from a donor, or they can come from your own body. In such cases, stem cells can be harvested, or grown, before you start chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Those healthy cells are then stored and used in transplantation.
Some reasons for a bone marrow transplant include:
• Aplastic anemia, which is a disorder in which the marrow stops making new blood cells
• Cancers that affect the marrow, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma
• Damaged bone marrow due to chemotherapy
• Congenital neutropenia, which is an inherited disorder that causes recurring infections
• Sickle cell anemia, which is an inherited blood disorder that causes misshapen red blood cells
• Thalassemia, which is an inherited blood disorder where the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin, an integral part of red blood cells
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