When the bone marrow of a person gets damaged due to any cause or is destroyed, it can be replaced with some healthy bone marrow stem cells. This procedure of transplantation is called bone marrow transplant. Your bones contain a soft and fatty tissue, which is called the bone marrow. It is responsible for the production of blood cells in our body. While the immature cells present in the bone marrow and have the power to transform themselves into the different types of blood cells are called the stem cells. In most cases chemotherapy or radiation, therapy is done on the patient prior to the transplant. It can be performed in two ways:
- Ablative treatment- a very high dose of radiation or chemotherapy is given to the patient, so that all the cancer cells along with the remaining healthy bone marrow are destroyed. This allows the new stem cells to develop and grow in the bone marrow.
- Reduced intensity treatment- This is popularly called a mini transplant. For older people who need the actual transplant to take place the dose of radiation or chemotherapy is significantly reduced. People with other health problems also are preferred for this method.
Your individual health history and many other factors will decide which type will be most suitable for you. The doctors on the best bone marrow transplant hospitals in India will appropriately diagnose you and recommend the perfect mode of treatment. There are three main types of bone marrow transplant:
- Autologous bone marrow transplant: as the word auto means self, the stem cells are taken for the patient itself. They are taken and stored in a freezer prior to chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Then, later the stem cells are replaced to produce healthy and proper functioning blood cells.
- Allogeneic bone marrow transplant: the word ‘allo’ has the meaning ‘other’. In this method, the stem cells are taken from a different person also called the donor. But the donor’s genes much match with the patient’s genes to a certain degree. Most common examples of donors are siblings, parents and other family relatives. But you may also find a complete stranger to be a good match by checking the national bone marrow registries. Care should be taken while testing whether a person is a match to the patient or not.
- Umbilical cord blood transplant: this is a special type of allogeneic transplantation. When a newborn baby is born, some of the stem cells from its umbilical cord are removed and stored. They are stored in a frozen state till they are needed for any kind of transplantation. As the stem cells from the umbilical cord are so immature, hardly any kind of match needs to be made with the patient. But, the less number of stem cells which can be transplanted allows the blood count to return to normal in a much longer time.
This will be discussed with you when you consult with doctors. The best bone marrow transplant hospitals in India will have all the three types of transplantation options. Your budget and health condition also influence the type of surgery you receive.