We all have heard about bone marrow. But what is actually bone marrow? Bone Marrow is a spongy tissue inside your bones. These contain stem cells or immature cells. The stem cell, in turn, develops into red blood cells and carry oxygen throughout the body. They also carry white blood cell which helps in fighting infections. They also help in the blood clot.

Who needs bone marrow transplant?
A bone marrow transplant is usually undertaken by Oncologist. Not everyone undergoes bone marrow transplant. The transplant is done only in these cases-
1. Leukemia is also known as blood cancer.
2. Patients with other diseases like thalassemia, sickle cell anemia.
3. Immunodeficiency patients.
4. Patients with Myeloma.

Bone Marrow Transplantation
Transplant is not so easy. One needs to undergo high doses of chemotherapy and radiation. This destroys the faulty stem cells in your body. The donor can be a family member or unrelated children. Sometimes, the cells are saved in advance and are then later used on. Bone Marrow transplantation has serious risks. But, for some people, it can be a hope for longer survival.

Types of Bone Marrow Transplant
Transplantation can be of various types. Following are some types:-
1. Autologous Transplantation – It is also known as the self donated transplant. It involves a high dose of chemotherapy and then infusion of patient’s previously collected stem cells. Chemotherapy is given by Oncologists to eliminate the cancer cells. Infusion of stem cells replaces the bone marrow destroyed by chemotherapy. Here, the donor is not needed. The patient is the donor himself/herself. The main advantage of autologous bone marrow transplant is the patient does not suffer from the complication of graft v/s host disease.

2. Allogenic Transplantation- This is also known as donor transplant. Like Autologous transplantation, chemotherapy is required in this case as well. Infusion of donor’s blood cells is done after the chemotherapy. Remember, the marrow should come from HLA (immune) matched donor. In this case, the donor has to undergo cell mobilization. Here the oncologist will take the tissue from only those whose tissue matches with that of the patient. This is because of the closer the tissue, more positive the outcome.

Different types of Allogenic transplantation are-

• Related donor- Having the relatives who can give you bone marrow is an advantage. This is because higher the match, less will be the risk. Siblings are likely the closest match. Moreover, identical twins are the perfect match in such cases.
• Matched Unrelated donor- There are cases when there is no relative donor. In such cases, oncologists look for international registry who is a match for the patient.
• Allogenic transplant by Half Matched donor- In this procedure, haplotype donors provide bone marrow such as biological parents, children, and siblings. This is for the patients who have very limited siblings and unrelated donor options.
• The allogeneic transplant using Umbilical Chord- Another option is that of the umbilical cord. If you don’t have a matching donor, you can take blood from the umbilical cord of the newborn.The immune cells in the cord are always ‘naïve’. They do not have the power of attacking new cells. Hence, cord stem cells need not be a close match.

Therefore, the bone marrow transplant is the only solution for people with cancer. But, the bone marrow transplant involves high risk including the death. But, undoubtedly if successful, it can lead to longer life.

To know more about your specific condition, please visit an Oncologist in a trusted hospital close to you.

Author's Bio: 

Aditya Mewati is a content writer at a online healthcare platform Logintohealth. Please visit www.logintohealth.com or www.logintohealth.com/blog to read more health related blogs.