Creating Healthy Bone Marrow
A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that either replaces unhealthy bone marrow or bone marrow that has been destroyed (ablated) by chemotherapy or radiation treatment for another cancer.
You may need a bone marrow transplant if you have a blood cancer, such as multiple lyeloma, leukaemia or lymphoma, or an inherited disease such as congenital neutropenia, sickle cell anemia or aplastic anemia. If you have questions about the bone marrow transplantation procedure in relation to a particular disease then you can request a free consultation from one of our specialists.
Types of Bone Marrow Transplant
There are three main types of bone marrow transplant:
Autologous bone marrow transplant, where bone marrow derived stem cells are taken from a patient and stored until they are needed at a later date.
Allogeneic bone marrow transplant, where bone marrow derived stem cells are taken from a close genetic match and transplanted to the patient.
Umbilical cord blood transplant, where stem cells are taken from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord and stored until needed.
Before The Transplant
If you are having a bone marrow transplant to replace dysfunctional bone marrow, the first thing that we need to do is destroy all of the existing bone marrow so that, after the transplant, your new bone marrow stem cells can reproduce to create healthy, properly function bone marrow. This is done in one of two ways, depending on your condition and your health:
Ablative (myeloblative) treatment. We will give you a course of high-dose chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of the two which will kill any remaining cancer cells, if you have a blood cancer, as well as all existing bone marrow.
Reduced intensity (nonmyeloablative) treatment. This treatment is used for patients who may not withstand the effects of intensive chemotherapy. Known as a mini transplant, patients receive lower doses of chemotherapy and radiation.
Donor Stem Cells
There are two ways of collecting stem cells for an allogeneic or an autologous stem cell transplant:
Leukapheresis or PBSC donation is a procedure where the donor is given injections for a few days to stimulate the bone marrow to release stem cells into the blood stream. When this is done, an Intravenous line is put into the patient to remove the blood. The blood goes through a machine that separates the stem cells from the rest of the blood (leukapheresis), before returning the blood to the patient.
Bone Marrow Harvest. This is a procedure performed under general anaesthetic, where bone marrow itself is taken directly from the patient, usually from both hip bones.
A stem cell transplant is performed when the patient has very few, or no stem cells functioning in their bone marrow. We introduce the healthy stem cells into the blood stream using a tube, known as a central venous catheter. The stem cells travel through the blood to the bone marrow, where they multiply to form healthy bone marrow.
After The Transplant
Depending on your health before the bone marrow transplantation procedure and how you react to the donor cells, you may need further treatment following your transplant. Because of that we want you to keep you in hospital for as long as necessary, under the experienced and vigilant care of our staff.
To find out more about whether a bone marrow transplant can help you take a look at our treatable conditions. If you would like a no-obligation consultation from one of our bone marrow transplant specialists please contact us.