one marrow transplants are not new. They have been used to treat conditions such as leukemia since the late 1960s. However, only in recent years has the general public gained a greater understanding of the benefit of stem cells found in bone marrow and how they can be used to treat a multitude of conditions. Recently, bone marrow transplants, commonly known as BMTs, have been researched as treatments and potential cures for several types of cancer including Hodgkin's and non Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Common cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy are designed to destroy cancerous cells, tumors and growth. Unfortunately, these same treatments also damage and destroy healthy cells along with the bad ones. Bone marrow is a spongy type of tissue found in the center of bones and creates blood cells, including important leukocytes (white blood cells) vital for fighting multiple types of infection. Bone marrow is a source of rich supplies of stem cells, the most common location for harvesting such cells being the pelvic bone. Bone marrow transplantation has been used to replace damaged bone marrow in patients who have undergone high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
In medical conditions where bone marrow is healthy, common practice has been to withdraw healthy bone marrow from a patient and freeze it. The patient undergoes chemotherapy or radiation therapy to treat the cancer. Following the chemotherapy or radiation procedures, the bone marrow is thawed and then replaced in the body of the individual through a needle inserted into a vein. This type of transplantation procedure is called autologous transplantation, which means that the marrow or cells came from the same individual receiving treatment. Another common type of transplant is called the allogenic, which means the bone marrow has been taken from a different individual, to later be injected into the patient.
A peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT) is another common method of an autologous transplant that involves the patient's blood being passed through a machine that processes and removes stem cells from the blood and and then returns them to the body. A peripheral blood stem cell is defined as one that circulates within the body, such as those found in blood. Stem cells are immature cells from which multiple types of blood cells can form. For example, as stem cells may be convinced to form into muscle tissue, cardiac tissue, skin tissue, or liver tissue and so forth. This type of peripheral blood stem cell transplant is called apheresis, a procedure that generally takes up to 4 hours, and is the most common method used today to collect stem cells for transplants.
The third technique for bone marrow transplants is called a synergeic procedure. However, this method is only used in the case of bone marrow transferred from one identical twin to the other, and is fairly rare.
The bone marrow transplant procedure, except in the case of an autologous technique, involves two people - the bone marrow stem cell donor and the recipient. The donor receives an anesthetic that puts him or her to sleep. Several long needles are inserted into the iliac crest (the back of the pelvic bone) to remove bone marrow. Bone marrow is a thick , liquid substance that may be suctioned into a needle. Risks to donors are minimal and involve general soreness at the site for several days following the procedure.
The collected bone marrow is filtered and kept within a solution and stored in a frozen state with liquid nitrogen. Prior to use, it is thawed and injected in a process similar to a blood transfusion. The injected bone marrow cells travel through the recipient's bloodstream to the bone marrow, where they begin to create healthy blood cells. In most cases, new blood cell development conditions are usually noted within 2 to 4 weeks.
In the past, bone marrow transplants were limited to use for treating leukemia. Today, bone marrow stem cell therapies are being used to treat other conditions such as lymphoma and heart disease. Because the bone marrow stem cell supply provides unlimited stem cells that may be utilized for treatment of other medical conditions and disease processes, and involves minimal risk to individuals, such techniques are likely to grow in popularity in the coming years.
In the United States, an autologous bone marrow stem cell transplant will not cost as much as one that involves another individual. For individuals who must find a donor, costs for that search alone may range between $10,000 and $25,000. Following that, compatibility testing must be performed. The collection of stem cells may cost between $3,500 and $5,000 for related donors, though costs may rise to $15,000 to $50,000 dollars for unrelated donors. For an autologous transplant, costs for an individual may range between $50,000 and $100,000, while allogenic transplant may range between $150,000 and $200,000 for the recipient.
Patients traveling to international destinations may save tens of thousands of dollars or up to 70% on stem cell treatments and therapies. Travelers to India may pay approximately $26,000 for a bone marrow stem cell transplant. Check an approximate cost for your treatment and if you need clarifications, contact us.
A doctor specializing in oncology or a bone marrow transplant doctor or surgeon will engage in bone marrow transplant therapies. Oncologists and transplant doctors and surgeons should be trained, certified and accredited through country of origin or international accreditation and certification boards and should also belong to organizations or associations of their specialty.
If you need information about where you can get bone marrow stem cell therapies or you want to ask us a question, use the button below:
Stem Cell Therapy Abroad