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All You Need to Know About Stem Cells and Bone Marrow Transplant

Stem cells have gained a lot of attention in recent years due to their potential to treat various diseases and conditions. One of the most promising applications of stem cells is in bone marrow transplantation. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about stem cells and bone marrow transplantation.

What are Stem Cells?

These are special types of cells that can develop into different types of cells in the body. They can be found in various parts of the body, such as bone marrow, blood, and umbilical cord. Stem cells are classified into two main types:

  • Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos and can develop into any type of cell in the body.
  • Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are found in various tissues and organs in the body and have a more limited ability to differentiate into different cell types.

What is a Bone Marrow Transplant?

It is also known as a stem cell transplant, is a medical procedure in which healthy stem cells are transplanted into a patient’s body to replace damaged or diseased bone marrow. Bone marrow is a spongy tissue inside bones that produces blood cells, including:

  • red blood cells
  • white blood cells
  • platelets

A bone marrow transplant is often used to treat certain types of cancers, such as:

  • leukemia
  • lymphoma

as well as other blood disorders such as:

  • sickle cell anemia
  • aplastic anemia

The procedure involves replacing a patient’s diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells from a donor.

Types of Bone Marrow Transplant

  • Autologous transplant involves using a patient’s own stem cells, which are collected and stored before undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy. After the patient’s cancer is treated, the stored stem cells are transplanted back into their body to restore their bone marrow function.
  • Allogeneic transplant involves using stem cells from a donor. The donor can be a family member, an unrelated person, or a cord blood donor. The donor’s stem cells are collected and then transplanted into the patient’s body. This type of transplant is often used to treat patients who have cancers that have not responded to other treatments.

Risks and Side Effects

Bone marrow transplant is a complex procedure that carries significant risks and side effects. The most common side effects include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • hair loss

In some cases, patients may experience more severe side effects, such as infections, bleeding, and organ damage.

Click here to see the full scientific article from Mayo Clinic.

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