Bone marrow transplantation
Bone marrow transplantation is the process where the patient undergoes an ablation of his or her bone marrow, followed by implantation of a new one. It can be either harvested before the ablation (Autologous transplantation) or from a donor (Allogenic transplantation).
In chronic myeloid leukemia, it is usually preferred in case of failure of other treatment, including tyrosine kinase inhibitors, but a number of patients may benefit from an early transplantation, especially if they are young and in the presence of a compatible sibling. Bone marrow can be rejected due to a reaction of the body known as “graft versus host disease”, and there is a risk of mortality, but both of these side effects can be reduced by properly matching the bone marrow and the chance is much lower in the case of siblings. New advances are being carried out in this field which allow doctors to harvest healthy cells from the patient before ablating the bone marrow, but measures have to be taken to ensure that they don’t harvest a leukemic bone marrow.