The cells responsible for blood production in the human organism are stem cells in the bone marrow. Transplantation of cells with these highly specialized functions is generally referred to as a ‘bone marrow transplant.’

Bone marrow produces blood cells. Stem cells are immature cells found in the bone marrow that makeup all the different blood cells. Stem cells, which form the origin of all structures in the human body and have rapid self-renewal properties, offer hope in treating many diseases, including some types of cancer.

How Is Bone Marrow Transplant Performed?

Bone marrow transplantation, also known as stem cell transplantation, gives very successful results in the treatment of blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia, which can be seen at any age, various genetic disorders, hereditary blood disorders, treatment-refractory or relapsed solid organ tumors, immune system diseases and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Hematopoietic stem cells are used in bone marrow transplants. Doctors transfer the stem cells to the recipient’s patient through the vein. They often use devices called central venous catheters placed in the vein. In bone marrow transplants (BMT), blood stem cells collected from the bone marrow are used.

After transplantation, immature cells begin to live in the bone marrow and develop into a variety of mature blood cells, including:

  • Oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
  • Platelets that help blood clot.
  • White blood cells help fight infection.

A bone marrow transplant replaces damaged stem cells with healthy cells. This helps the body make enough white blood cells, platelets, or red blood cells to avoid infections, bleeding disorders, or anemia.

Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant

Autologous transplantation aims to allow hematologic recovery after high-dose therapy. The cells are taken from the patient’s bone marrow before chemotherapy and replaced with new ones after cancer treatment. In other words, in some cases, high-dose, intense chemotherapy or radiotherapy is used in cancer treatment. Cancer treatment can damage our stem cells and immune system.

Doctors collect and freeze a person’s stem cells before cancer treatment begins. These stem cells, are stored after cancer treatment, and are returned to the person. This process is stem cell recovery. Autologous bone marrow transplants are mainly used to treat diseases such as lymphoma and myeloma. In autologous bone marrow transplantation, the recipient’s probability of rejecting the stem cells and the risk of vaccine versus host disease (GVHD) is very low. Therefore, autologous stem cell transplant is safer than allogeneic transplants. For allogeneic transplants, you can review our article named “Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplantation.”

What Are The Risks Of Bone Marrow Transplants?

Bone marrow (stem cell) transplantation may take a long time for the immune system to be in order and to produce healthy new blood cells. Immune recovery after transplantation depends on many variables. Patients with bone marrow transplants are at risk of infection during this time. Also, a decrease in the number of blood cells; can cause anemia, excessive bleeding, bruising, and an increased risk of infection. Some patients may require a blood transfusion for some time.

Possible complications associated with a bone marrow transplant include:

  • Graft-versus-host disease (allogeneic transplant only)
  • Stem cell (graft) error
  • Organ damage
  • Infections
  • Cataract
  • Infertility
  • New cancers

Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD): Graft versus host disease occurs in allogeneic transplants when the transplanted cells begin to attack other cells in your body. GVHD can occur immediately after a transplant or more than a year later.

What Should Be Considered After Bone Marrow Transplantation?

People with bone marrow transplants should pay great attention to their health. Because post-transplant health problems such as high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol can worsen and delay recovery.

One way to ensure you stay healthy is to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Some points to consider regarding proper nutrition are as follows:

  • Avoid consuming alcohol, as it can cause complications.
  • Choose only whole-grain cereals and bread.
  • Adopt a low-salt diet program.
  • Include fruits in your diet. But avoid drinking grapefruit juice or grapefruit.
  • Prefer low-fat milk and low-fat dairy products.
  • Include Cruciferae family plants, namely cruciferous vegetables, in your diet.
  • Consume fibrous products.
  • Consume lean meat as a protein source.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bone Marrow Transplantation

Are There Any Risks To The Health Of The Bone Marrow Donor?

Stem cell donation does not harm the donor’s health in any way.

Is There Any Age Limit For A Bone Marrow Donor?

There is no age range if the stem cell donor is close to the recipient. However, people who want to donate stem cells to the tissue bank must be between 18 and 55.

Can Stem Cell Therapy Be Applied To Joint Pain?

It can apply to joints such as shoulders, hips, and knees that have suffered cartilage injury in patients with cartilage damage, have a painful joint but are in the early stage of surgical treatment, or do not want to have surgery. However, stem cell therapy is not a treatment option for almost all loss of joint cartilage capacity.

How Long Will It Take For Me To Resume My Normal Activities After The Bone Marrow Transplant?

After a bone marrow transplant can take a year to recover fully. Complete recovery after a bone marrow transplant depends on many factors. These include age, general health status, and whether you have received radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment. If the stem cells start to produce blood cells again after the transplant, you can continue your normal daily activities.

Is It Okay For Me To Exercise After A Bone Marrow Transplant?

You can start exercising if the bone marrow transplant process is completed successfully. The intensity of the exercise should increase gradually, and excessive effort should not exert during the training.