Bone marrow transplant is used as a cure for many diseases and types of cancer. When a person’s bone marrow gets damaged due to disease or due to treatments of radiation and chemotherapy for cancer, it becomes necessary to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
Bone marrow is a spongy tissue found in the bones. It provides storage and it develops 95 percent of the blood cells in the body. A bone marrow transplant involves taking stem cells from a healthy bone marrow and selecting only the healthy stem cells out of them and transplanting them in the needy patient. Stem cells are blood cells that are capable of producing other blood cells.
Some of the diseases that may require bone marrow transplant are given below.
- Severe aplastic anemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Immune deficiency disorder
- Solid tumor cancers such as breast or ovarian
Bone marrow transplant requires that the recipient’s own bone marrow is destroyed. Prior to transplant the recipient may go for several weeks without sufficient white blood cells required to fight infection. Hence, he is susceptible to infection. This means that the patient is at high risk of infections even though he may be taking antibiotics. Immunosuppressive drugs are given for minimum of six months after the transplantation. Transplant patients also lose their acquired immunity to disease such as measles and polio for which they had received vaccines during their childhood. They need fresh vaccines to gain immunity.
Infections are likely in the patient. Bacterial infections are common. Viral and fungal infections can cause more problems.
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