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Things To Consider While Finding A Donor For a Bone Marrow Transplant

By AK, 28 November 2019

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Bone marrow tissue appears as a fatty, spongy material that is found inside your bones. It comprises of the blood cells that further develop into RBCs, WBCs, or platelets. When the bone marrow gets deteriorated because of diseases like lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and leukemia, your body becomes incapable of generating and storing enough stem cells. This might result in several ailments, plus a weak immune system.

This malfunctioning of the bone marrow can be treated with a bone marrow transplant. In this procedure, your old, damaged marrow cells are replaced with new ones. If you are heading for this transplant, this article will guide you through all the crucial aspects that must be considered.

1What is a bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow transplantation involves the process of replacing the damaged bone marrow. During this process, the new stem cells are introduced in the bone marrow to replace the old, destroyed cells. Thereupon, the new stem cells stimulate the formulation of blood cells so that your body can stay immune from several disorders or infections.

A donor can provide these stem cells, or they can be acquired from your own body. Today, with the advancement in medical science, stem cell transplantation has immensely turned out to be a success. Alongside this, it has helped in curing some of the chronic diseases like cancer.

What is a bone marrow transplant

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2Why you need a bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow is precisely related to the functioning of your immune system. When it is diseased, it becomes incapable of generating enough stem cells that often work as antibiotics against several diseases. Hence, this might make your body more prone to fatal syndromes and other ailments.

There can be varied reasons behind a damaged bone marrow. Some specific types of cancer plus the extensive chemotherapy sessions, along with susceptibility to the radiations, are some of the leading causes. Your surgeon can suggest a bone marrow transplantation in case your bone marrow indicates any dysfunctioning regarding the production of stem cells. Transplantation of healthy bone marrow can defend your body against severe illness.

3Things to consider before transplant, finding a donor

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There are about two types of bone marrow transplantation– Autologous and Allogeneic. Before finding a donor, refer to a doctor to contemplate which kind of transplant is best suited for your condition. In an autologous transplant, you certainly don't need a donor. But in the case of allogeneic transplantation, the surgery needs to be conducted using the stem cells of a donor.

Initially, by conducting a test, it is determined whether the donor's HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) level syncs with yours or not. The donor can be anyone among your family, friends, or just any person without a familial link. The success rate of the allogeneic stem cell transplant relies on a competent donor. For this fact, family members turn out to be the most suitable choices as they carry the same HLA protein. However, you can also refer to the national bone marrow registry in case you don't find a compatible donor within your relation.

4Recipient risk factor

Numerous risk factors can follow the aftermath of a bone marrow transplantation. These factors can often predict the outcome of the transplant. Some of the recipient risk factors are enlisted below:

Risk factors

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Recipient's age

A patient's age determines the favorability of the results to a great extent. It is observed that the recipients under the age group of 30 to 40 years have attained significant advantages from the transplant as compared to the above age group. Thus, after a specific age limit, the success rate of a bone marrow transplantation frequently declines. Subsequently, a person is more likely to be at risk after a certain period.

Curbed transplantation

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Bone marrow transplantation doesn't often serve you well if delayed for a prolonged period. Plus, it increases the chances of fatal diseases as the immune system gets distributed. Bone marrow transplantation seemingly performed soon after the diagnosis can reduce the risk factors.

Recipient's disease

The patient's diagnosed disease also determines the consequences of the transplantation. One is more at risk if s/he is undergoing persistent ailments. Besides this, the disorders occurring due to insufficient stem cell production are not detected at an early stage, and may also contribute to the partial success of the transplantation.

A bone marrow transplantation can be rated as a success only after analyzing the engraftment stage, which exhibits the state or performance of the newly transplanted cells. Recovering from the surgery may take three to four months, which may vary from person to person. However, you can apparently speed up your recovery phase by switching to a balanced diet and maintaining good overall health.

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