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Frequently Asked Questions about Bone Marrow Transplantation

Ques: What is Bone Marrow Transplantation?

Bone Marrow Transplantation is done for patients with leukaemia and thalassaemia. The Bone Marrow is the fluid found in our bones and responsible for producing the white blood protecting the body. The "mother cells" that do not turn into white blood are the main component of the surgery.

Ques: What are the different types of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation?

Stem cell or the Bone Marrow transplantation is done with two methods- Autologous and Allogenic. In Autologous, the stem cells and the bone marrow used for the surgery is the person's own. The cells are stored and freezed before the transplant. After the transplantation, the cells are given back through the veins.

In Allogenic, stem cells of someone else and with whom the tissue matches are used for the transplant. Suitable donor can be siblings or the closest relative.

Ques: What is the basic process of transplantation?

The transplantation process usually follows three essential steps. The first being collection of the bone marrow.
The second step is to prepare the patient to receive the new stem cells and the bone marrow.
The final process is when the new bone marrow is injected through intravenous route through the blood into the patient's body.

Ques: Who can be a donor for an allogenic transplant?

Siblings of the patient, parents, and any closest relative can act as the stem cell donor. The matching is made through blood tests. The donor should be fit for the surgery and give his or her consent. The facility for getting a good unrelated donor with the required match is not there in India.

Ques: What are the risks of bone marrow and stem cell transplantation?

The donor needs to be good health and qualify in terms of fitness. However, there is high-risk for the patient like bleeding and infection.

In Autogous transplant, the risk is comparatively lower than that of Allogenic. The graft venus from the donor may have infection. There is also chance of graft failure and risk of infection during recovery term. The age of the recipient of the bone marrow needs to be considered. However, with intensive pre-surgery treatments, counseling, and tests, the chances of risks have come down.

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