If you have been diagnosed with a condition that requires a bone marrow transplant you will be directed to the medical experts at the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Unit.
What is Bone Marrow?
Your bone marrow performs the important task of producing all the blood cells your body needs. They are derived from haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) which are located in the bone marrow.
Therefore, many diseases of blood and bone marrow such as thalassaemia, leukaemia etc. can be cured by removing the diseased bone marrow and replacing it with bone marrow or HSCs from a healthy donor.
A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that allows doctors to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow – the soft tissue inside your bones – with healthy bone marrow stem cells.
Bone marrow can be collected relatively easily and donated with no significant consequences to the donor thanks to its great capacity for self-regeneration. A Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) is mainly a medical rather than a surgical procedure.
Types of diseases and transplantations:
Autologous - Inherited disorders that runs in families: Thalassemia, immune deficiencies. An autologous transplant is one which uses a person's own stem cells. These cells are collected in advance and reintroduced to the person at a later stage. This type of transplant is useful in patients with multiple myeloma.
Allogenic - Acquired diseases that are not hereditary: Myeloma, Aplastic Anemia, High Grade Lymphoma, and Leukemia. In an allogeneic transplant, the patient receives bone marrow from another person -- usually a HLA compatible sibling, but sometimes an unrelated donor. This type of transplant is used to correct severe disorders such as thalassaemia and aplastic anaemia. It involves a long stay in the hospital (approximately 45 days)
For both types of diseases, blood transfusion (cleaning the patients blood) will be required as the bone marrow recovers.