Bone Marrow Transplant: Types, Procedure and Success Rate

Bone marrow transplant is a crucial life-saving procedure. However, people do not know much about this procedure.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Dec 18, 2022 11:00 IST
Bone Marrow Transplant: Types, Procedure and Success Rate

BMT or Bone Marrow Transplant is a synonymous for stem cell transplant which is a procedure to treat wide range of blood disorders both benign and malignant. In last few decades the advancements have also helped to increase the life expectancy of the patients undergoing BMT. In our country the success rate of boen marrow transplant is at par with other developed countries. Besides, outcomes have also been improved with better infrastructure and clinical experts. We reached out to Dr. Dharma Choudhary, Director and HOD, Blood and Marrow Transplant at Sanar International Hospitals to know more about this procedure, success rate and more.

What is Bone Marrow Transplant?

First things first, bone marrow transplant is a medical procedure conducted using donors stem cells or patient’s own stem cell after preparing with high dose chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Basically hematopoietic stem cells are initial form of blood cells which later develop into mature blood cells that are found inside our bones. 

Also Read: All About Total Body Irradiation For Bone Marrow Transplant

Who needs a bone marrow transplant?

When a person's bone marrow is not working fine or has stopped working, the production of healthy blood cells is also obstructed. In that case, doctors suggest bone marrow transplant to save the life of the patient. For this, the cells are either used from own body or transplanted from a donor person. This procedure is also done to initiate the production of new stem cells to kill cancer cells. People with various diseases can get benefited with bone marrow transplant including acute/chronic leukemia, anemia, myeloma, neuroblastoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, immune deficiencies, to name but a few.

Types of bone marrow transplant

Bone Marrow Transplant Types

The procedure can be of two types:

Autologous stem cell transplant: procedure in which the stem cells of the patient himself are used after high dose of chemotherapy as rescue.

Allogenic stem cell transplant: when a related or unrelated HLA matched donor’s stem cells are transplanted to recipient.

Bone marrow transplant is needed to cure incurable blood disorders where stem cells is defective like thalassemia, sickle cell disease, leukaemia or aplastic anaemia or to deliver high dose chemotherapy where high risk disease is sensitive to high dose chemotherapy where stem cells are used as rescue.

Also Read: What Are Paediatric Blood Disorders and How Bone Marrow Transplant Can Cure The Condition

What is the success rate of bone marrow transplant?

As far as clinical outcomes are concerned, there are many contributing factors that work for the possibility of success of this procedure. Early detection and treatment surely help in better outcomes. Success of BMT depends primarily on multiple patient related pre transplant factors like age, performance status, disease status, number of blood transfusions, number of chemotherapy regimens and cycles used to achieve remissions. Donor type like full match donor versus alternate donor transplant (like haplo-identical donor transplant or mismatch unrelated donor transplant) also influence post-transplant outcome. Diagnosis, severity and the availability of related donors also play key role in this process.

Are there any risks?

Like every procedure, there are certain limitation or risks associated to BMT as well. Some receivers may even experience life-threatening complications due to this. It depends on the age of the patient, overall health and type of transplant received. Some of the complications that may be caused after BMT are- infections, cataracts, organ damage, infertility and death.

It is important to weight the risks before undergoing the procedure for patient safety and success of the procedure.

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