Why do we transplant bone marrow stem cells?
Bone marrow transplantation is resorted to in the following conditions:
- Hereditary diseases where either red cell production or immunity are severely impaired.
- Some red cell disorders such as Thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. Here, the bone marrow does produce enough red cells, but they are deformed and unable to carry out their function. The choice of bone marrow transplantation is a tailored one according to the patient’s condition and their age.
- Immunodeficiency disorders, especially AIDS.
- Malignancy and premalignant conditions of the bone marrow. Leukemias are the main malignant condition requiring bone marrow transplantation. In most cases it is the only hope for cure, but because of its risks, they can be second-line therapies after chemotherapy especially in older patients and those with a good response to initial chemotherapy.
- Bone marrow failure and aplastic anemia. These conditions are very diverse but they generally result from a bone marrow that is unable to provide enough blood cells to maintain body requirements. They can result from a simple viral infection that produced a complication or from malignancy.