Bone marrow transplant

Bone marrow transplantation is the transplantation of blood stem cells located in the bone marrow or blood. This transplantation process was invented in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly by Donnall Thomas, who also won a Nobel Prize for this.
Most of the bone marrow transplantation processes are nowdays being done by using stem cells collected from peripheral blood.

Bone marrow transplant (or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation) is a very complicated and risky process, and therefore applied only to patients with life-threatening diseases (who are resistant to chemotherapy). Mostly patients with congenital neutropenia, aplastic anemia, sickle-cell disease, neuroblastoma, lymphoma and many other diseases are treated by stem cell / bone marrow transplantation.

There are two graft types: autologous and alleogeneic. Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant is done by isolating the hematopoietic stem cells from the patient and then leaving them in the freezer. A characteristic of stem cells, unlike other cell types, is that they can be put in the freezer without damaging many of them. After that, the patient is treated with chemotherapy in order to „kill“ all the „bad“ cells inside (healthy stem cells get destroyed during this also). After that, the freezed stem cells get returned into the patient’s body. Allogeneic actually includes 2 people: the patient and the donor (a healthy person who is donating the cells). Of course, the donor’s got to match with the patient (HLA – human leukocyte antigene). This transplant is also being done by using the blood from the umbilical cord.

Bone marrow transplantation scheme

This process is very much dependent of many factors. Mainly, those are disease type, disease stage, stem cells source, HLA match and others.