What is Bone Marrow Transplantation is Used for: In order to cure some diseases, large doses of chemotherapy are used to destroy the abnormal stem cells and abnormal blood cells. These therapies also destroy normal cells found
When a patient suffers from certain cancer like Leukemia (production of excessive defective blood cells) and Aplastic Anemia (a low count of blood cells are produced), the overall production of healthy, functional stem and blood cells is disturbed. It interferes with other tissues causing chronic diseases to other organs. In order to cure these diseases, large doses of chemotherapy and radiation are often used. Chemotherapy or radiation is done to destroy the abnormal stem cells and abnormal blood cells. These therapies, however, not only kill the abnormal cells but can destroy normal cells found in the bone marrow as well and hence need to be replaced by healthy steam cells.
[Read: What is Bone Marrow Transplant?]
In case of lymphomas and other cancers, aggressive chemotherapy is used, which destroys healthy bone marrow. A bone marrow transplant enables physicians to treat these diseases with aggressive chemotherapy or radiation by allowing replacement of the diseased or damaged bone marrow after the treatment.
A bone marrow transplant can be used to:
- Replace diseased, non-functioning bone marrow with healthy functioning bone marrow (for conditions such as leukemia, aplastic anemia, and sickle cell anemia).
- Replace the bone marrow and restore its normal function after high doses of chemotherapy or radiation are given to treat a malignancy. This process is often called 'rescue' (for diseases such as lymphoma and neuroblastoma).
- Replace bone marrow with genetically healthy functioning bone marrow to prevent further damage from a genetic disease process.
Bone marrow transplants thus help to cure cancers and solid tumours by allowing the chemotherapy to destroy the damaged, dysfunctional cells.
Read more articles on Bone Marrow Transplant.
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